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Mumbai Police Twitter handle gets over 10,0000 followers after 24 hrs of its launch

Mumbai Police spokesperson, Dhananjay Kulkarni said, “Any Mumbaikar in distress can reach out to us directly and we are there to render quick response. We have a dedicated team working the tweets received by us and doing the needful to help the person in distress.”

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Here’s why Neetu Kapoor gave Shashi Kapoor’s Christmas bash a miss! <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaMumbai Police Twitter handle gets over 10,0000 followers after 24 hrs of its launchIndiaMinor raped on train: Accused remanded to 4 days police custody, 2 armymen still at largeIndiaNo regrets: Arvind Kejriwal defends his ‘Modi is a coward and a psycopath’ comment IndiaGoof up in mouthpiece: Congress suspects handiwork of insiders IndiaEngineers’ murder – Those who challenged law & order during my rule doing it again: Lalu Prasad Yadav IndiaEssel and Zee group Chairman Dr. Subhash Chandra gets threatening call, complaint lodged <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>NGOs, cops battle whether to kill dog that ate its dead owner<!– /.block –>Here’s why Neetu Kapoor gave Shashi Kapoor’s Christmas bash a miss! <!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Another engineer found murdered in Bihar; BJP says return of ‘jungle raj’ in state evident

Nitish Kumar-led government has come under sharp criticism from the opposition parties post the murder of two engineers in Bihar’s Darbhanga district.


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Also ReadIndiaMumbai Police Twitter handle gets over 10,0000 followers after 24 hrs of its launchIndiaMinor raped on train: Accused remanded to 4 days police custody, 2 armymen still at largeIndiaNo regrets: Arvind Kejriwal defends his ‘Modi is a coward and a psycopath’ comment IndiaGoof up in mouthpiece: Congress suspects handiwork of insiders IndiaEngineers’ murder – Those who challenged law & order during my rule doing it again: Lalu Prasad Yadav IndiaEssel and Zee group Chairman Dr. Subhash Chandra gets threatening call, complaint lodged <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>AB de Villiers will leave some, play some to elongate his career<!– /.block –>Two Pakistani naval ships in Shanghai for joint exercises with China<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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2 bogies of goods train derail near Ambala Cantonment

After half an hour the traffic on the rail section was restored, railway officials said. Kumar, who was present at the site along with the mechanical staff, was supervising the restoration operation. One of the bogies was brought back to the track by noon and the DRM said, “both the bogies would be put back on the track by evening.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>


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110 journalists killed in 2015, most in ‘peaceful’ countries: Report <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaMumbai Police Twitter handle gets over 10,0000 followers after 24 hrs of its launchIndiaMinor raped on train: Accused remanded to 4 days police custody, 2 armymen still at largeIndiaNo regrets: Arvind Kejriwal defends his ‘Modi is a coward and a psycopath’ comment IndiaGoof up in mouthpiece: Congress suspects handiwork of insiders IndiaEngineers’ murder – Those who challenged law & order during my rule doing it again: Lalu Prasad Yadav IndiaEssel and Zee group Chairman Dr. Subhash Chandra gets threatening call, complaint lodged <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>China to ‘wait and see’ if Japan sincere on ‘comfort women’ issue<!– /.block –>110 journalists killed in 2015, most in ‘peaceful’ countries: Report<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Panchkula industrial plot case: Vigilance department registers FIR against former CM Bhupinder Hooda


The FIR was lodged even as Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar recommended CBI probe into the alleged irregularities during the previous Congress government.

Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda
File Photo

An FIR was lodged on Saturday by the Haryana Vigilance Bureau against the then Chairman and Chief Administrator of HUDA for alleged irregularities in allotment of industrial plots in Panchkula three years ago when the then Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was at the body’s helm.The FIR was lodged even as Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar recommended CBI probe into the alleged irregularities during the previous Congress government. The Vigilance Bureau registered the case under relevant sections of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act against the then Chairman of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), a post held by Hooda, as also former IAS officer DPS Nagal and two other officials of the authority. The FIR does not mention Hooda by name but names of others — Nagal, then HUDA chief finance officer S C Kansal and another official B B Taneja, besides 13 beneficiaries, figure in it, a senior Vigilance Bureau official told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hooda dubbed the move as “political vendetta” unleashed by the BJP government. “They (BJP) have unleashed political vendetta against us (the Congress leaders),” the former Chief Minister told PTI while reacting to the development. He alleged that Khattar government had failed on all fronts and was desperate to divert public attention from its own alleged failures. With the Vigilance Department registering an FIR in the case, the matter would be referred to CBI, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s OSD Jawahar Yadav said.Talking to reporters at Ludhiana today, Khattar said, “…The Vigilance report says that norms were not followed and the plots were alloted to favourites and close ones.” He rejected the allegation of “political vendetta”, saying “Wherever wrongs have taken place, we are duty-bound to take action. We don’t initiate any action by targeting anyone.” Khattar said the state’s advocate-general has favoured a probe by an independent agency and added the matter will be referred for a CBI probe.Outspoken Haryana Minister Anil Vij also said, “This matter will be probed by CBI. Large-scale irregularities have taken place in plot allotments, which were distributed to favourites by the previous regime.”Senior Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad hit out at the BJP government for targeting political opponents.

House cannot be run by rules alone but by political consensus: PJ Kurien


PJ Kurien lauded the Chairman’s initiative of convening the all-party meeting to end the logjam and said the step has came at an “appropriate time” as there are three more days left and members agreed to pass six bills and dispose of three more, besides holding discussions on important issues.
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After the logjam in Rajya Sabha was broken at an all-party meet, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien on Friday said the House cannot be run on rules alone (rpt) alone but by political consensus and asked members to adopt self restraint and not cross the benchmarks or break their oath.”It is not rules, it is actually the self restraint of members, responsibility of members. You cannot run the House by rules only. The House is run by political consensus and self restraint of the members and your adherence to democratic norms,” he told reporters after the all-party meeting convened by Chairman Hamid Ansari.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He lauded the Chairman’s initiative of convening the all-party meeting to end the logjam and said the step has came at an “appropriate time” as there are three more days left and members agreed to pass six bills and dispose of three more, besides holding discussions on important issues.Ansari convened an all-party meet today attended by leaders of various parties where it was decided to end the logjam with members sitting for extra time to dispose of pending legislations and take up important discussions in Rajya Sabha, which has not been functioning for past few days.Asked if the rules need to be amended to give more powers to the Chairman, the deputy chairman said, “Even if you amend the rules, the same thing can happen. I don’t think the amendment of the rules is the final solution. But that will also help.”Kurien, however, refused to give a direct reply on whether rules should be amended or not. “I don’t want to comment. But there is a feeling, some suggestions are there. Infact, hon’ble chairman himself once suggested amendment of the rules. I think it may be taken up,” he said.Asked if the weapon of suspending a member be given to the Chair, he said, “I don’t want to say that. I am only saying the present position. There is a feeling, including some journalists say why not you suspend these members and proceed.In Rajya Sabha rule book there is no such procedure. In Lok Sabha Hon’ble can do without a motion.”Here, Hon’ble chairman or I can do only if a motion is moved and passed in the House. And going by the composition of the House, do you think such a motion will be passed here. So we are trying our best to run the house….” he said.Kurien said “we were trying our best to run the House every day” and all weapons at their disposal like persuasion, appealing, requesting and even cajoling were used. Ansari had at a meeting of the Rules Committee of the Upper House reportedly sought change of rules to allow more powers to the Chair to suspend members creating frequent disruptions and hamper its functioning.

Parliament disruptions: Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari calls all-party meeting in view of pending legislation

“Government is ready to extend any cooperation but if somebody is bent upon disrupting and if they do it on a regular basis, the Chair has to take necessary action,” Naidu said reflecting the exasperation in the government with repeated disruptions in the House, which has taken a toll of the legislative business.

With logjam in the Upper House leaving key bills in the limbo, Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari has called an all-party meeting on Friday even as the Government said it is ready to extend cooperation but the Chair has to “act” if Opposition members are “hell bent” on disruptions.In the meeting to be held in Parliament House, the Chairman, who has repeatedly voiced his anguish over frequent disruptions in the House, is expected to urge members of all parties to allow the House to function to transact normal business.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, meanwhile, said, the Chair should see to it that the House functions properly.”Government is ready to extend any cooperation but if somebody is bent upon disrupting and if they do it on a regular basis, the Chair has to take necessary action,” Naidu said reflecting the exasperation in the government with repeated disruptions in the House, which has taken a toll of the legislative business.When asked what specific action the Chair should take, Naidu said he does not want to say what the Chair has to do.”The Chair knows its responsibility and its rights also,” he said while citing examples of the passage of Women Reservation Bill and Telangana Bill in Parliament amid massive protests in the past with the Chair resorting to the use of marshals in one case to evict the protesting members.”We have seen it umpteen times. How the Women’s Reservation Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha. How the Telangana creation bill was passed in Rajya Sabha. The entire country has seen that,” he said.Asked whether those measures are required again, Naidu merely said the nation needs measures that preserve democracy and allow debates and discussion and decision.”The President also said that discuss, debate and then decide. Do not disrupt. He has been saying it continuously.The Chair also has been saying this. But the point is that there has to be somewhere the Chair has to act…If they say we are not allowing this House to function. Then it is bringing bad name to democracy, the country,” the Parliamentary Affairs Minister said.Drawing attention to the difference between functioning of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, he said the one House where the BJP has majority is functioning normally while disruption is the order in the other House where Congress has majority.

Air India technician dies after getting sucked into plane engine

Confirming the incident, Air India Chairman Ashwani Lohani said the incident is being investigated.

In a freak accident, an aircraft technician died after being sucked into the engine of an Air India aircraft during push back at the Mumbai airport this evening.The mishap occurred when the co-pilot of Mumbai-Hyderabad flight 619 mistook a signal for starting the engine and the victim, Ravi Subramanian, who was standing close, got sucked into it at bay 28 of the Chhatrapati Shivaji domestic airport around 8:40 pm.Confirming the incident, Air India Chairman Ashwani Lohani said the incident is being investigated.”During the pushback, the co-pilot mistook a signal for engine start. As he switched on the engine, it sucked in the technician standing nearby,” Air India sources said.Lohani said he was deeply saddened by the tragic incident.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are deeply saddened and regret the tragic incident at Mumbai airport this evening when an Air India technician died in a mishap during pushback of flight AI 619. The incident is being investigated. Our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family,” Lohani said.

Delhi govt to finalise names of Delhi Human Rights Commission chairperson and members

The CJI had on December 10 raised an alarm for Arvind Kejriwal government in the national capital by reminding that Delhi has no state human rights body for last 22 years.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Six days after Chief Justice of India T S Thakur pointed to the need of state human rights body in the capital, the AAP government has convened a meeting tomorrow to finalise the names of chairperson and members of Delhi Human Rights Commission.The CJI had on December 10 raised an alarm for Arvind Kejriwal government in the national capital by reminding that Delhi has no state human rights body for last 22 years.In the panel, three candidates – Justice Uma Nath Singh (Chief Justice of High Court of Meghalaya), Chief Justice of Jharkhand (rtd) Bhagwati Prasad and Chief Justice of J & K (rtd) B A Khan – have been proposed for the post of Chairman of Delhi Human Right Commission. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Besides, government has suggested three names of human rights activists for the member of state human rights body. These names are Raj Mangal Prasad, S C Agarwal and Indu Prakash.Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain has convened a meeting of committee comprising Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Speaker of Delhi Assembly Ram Niwas Goel, Home Minister and Opposition leader in Assembly Vijendra Gupta, tomorrow.”It is a misnomer that human rights violations are not there in cities. It happens in cities also. It is totally unacceptable that Delhi has no state human rights commission for last 22 years,” Justice Thakur had said on the occasion of Human Rights Day here on December 10.

Shakur Basti row: Urban Development ministry asks DDA not to carry demolition drive in winter

The action follows the demolition drive by Railways in West Delhi’s Shakur Basti area where a seven-month-old infant was killed on Saturday, triggering a political storm over the incident.

People burning an effigy of Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu during a protest over the demolition of a Shakur Basti slum, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Tuesday.

A day after a political slugfest broke out over slum demolition issue, Union urban development ministry directed the Delhi Development Authority to put a hold on all demolitions in the city till winter is over. The DDA has been told not to carry out any further demolition till the winter period is over, according to sources in the ministry.”DDA Chairman has been told to do the needful for banning all demolitions in the winter months. It has been done to prevent people from hardship during the winter months,” the sources added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The action follows the demolition drive by Railways in West Delhi’s Shakur Basti area where a seven-month-old infant was killed on Saturday, triggering a political storm over the incident. While the Railways said child had died before demolition, the AAP-led Delhi government claimed that the death took place during the drive.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had met Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday and got assurance that no further demolition on railway land will take place without rehabilitation of the affected persons.

Come to Pakistan: PTI chief Imran Khan tells Narendra Modi

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman and former cricketing legend Imran Khan met PM Narendra Modi in New Delhi today.

Narendra Modi with Imran Khan

Image Courtesy: Vikas Swarup (Twitter)
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman and former cricketing legend Imran Khan met PM Narendra Modi in New Delhi today. According to Express Tribune’s sources, Khan and Modi would discuss a number of important political and strategical issues. Vikas Swarup, spokeperson of MEA wrote on Twitter: “At his request, Pakistan MP & Chairman of Tehreek-e-Insaf Party Imran Khan called on PM @narendramodi today. Mr Imran Khan invited PM @narendramodi to visit Pakistan. They welcomed recent developments in bil relations & expressed hope that these would lead 2 closer cooperative ties btween the 2 countries.” Imran Khan was quoted saying: “We grew up in Pakistan hating India but when I came here and started interacting with people my views changed. Don’t judge a whole country by acts of a few extremists.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj returned after a ‘successful’ visit to Pakistan, where she attended the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference and held bilateral talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his adviser Sartaj Aziz. “After a successful visit to Pakistan, EAM @SushmaSwaraj departs for Delhi,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted. Holding a bilateral discussion, Swaraj and Adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz today ‘condemned’ terrorism and ‘resolved’ to cooperate to eliminate it. (Read: Sushma Swaraj returns after successful Pakistan visit)

Uproar over National Herald case paralyses Rajya Sabha for third consecutive day

The Upper House was repeatedly adjourned and the final adjournment for the day came minutes after 3 pm because of relentless shouting of slogans against the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Congress members who were in the Well all the time

Proceedings in Rajya Sabha were washed out for the third consecutive day on Thursday as Congress members continued to create uproar over the National Herald case, inviting strong reaction from the ruling side which contended that the House was being held “hostage”.The Upper House was repeatedly adjourned and the final adjournment for the day came minutes after 3 pm because of relentless shouting of slogans against the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Congress members who were in the Well all the time. Trouble started soon after the House met for the day with Congress members raising anti-government slogans over the summons issued by a Delhi court to party chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AIADMK members also moved into the aisles in the morning demanding that the devastation caused by the Chennai floods be declared a national calamity. The noisy scenes first forced Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to adjourn the House till 1130 hours and then again till noon. Kurien also got the listed papers of the day laid on the table and then called for Zero Hour mentions, as noisy scenes continued.Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi expressed strong object to the opposition’s behaviour. “Ministers are sitting in the House to answer questions of members. If some members are not seeking to ask questions, why are other members being prevented from doing so? Some people cannot hold the House to ransom. Unfortunately, some people are taking this House hostage. The House needs your protection,” he told Chairman Hamid Ansari during Question Hour.Congress members continued slogan-shouting like “Modi teri tanashahi nahi chalegi (Prime Minister’s authoritarianism will not be tolerated).” In the din, Health Minister J P Nadda said the government was ready for a discussion on the issue and wanted it to be initiated immediately. Kurien asked members to return to their seats and start discussion but no one heeded to his pleas.BJP members were also on their feet, as Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad reiterated that the government was ready for discussion on “all issues”.”We are ready for a debate on all the issues, including the National Herald case and Himachal Pradesh chief minister’s issue. We are ready for a debate right away. Why is Parliament not allowed to function…They are running away from debate. Start discussion on…on all issues,” he said amid noise. When the House re-assembled at 2 PM, Naresh Agrawal (SP), who was to speak on the Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, said there was no Cabinet Minister in the House even though Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot was present.But by then Congress members trooped into the well raising slogans. Agrawal requested the Chair to bring the House in order for him to speak. Naqvi said since the discussion has already started so he should start speaking on the bill.In the meanwhile, Anubhav Mohanty (BJD) raised the issue of Polvaram alleging that the government has become “a party to it instead of playing the role of an arbitrator”. “My state of Odisha is agitated. This is a social issue not a political issue,” he said, demanding that there should be “no Polavaram before the Supreme Court decision” and asked the government to “withdraw” its decision on it. He also soought an “immediate assurance” from the Centre that there will no Polavaram till the Supreme Court decided on the issue.BJD has been resisting the decision to hike the proposed dam’s height saying it was done without taking the Odisha and Chhattisgarh governments into confidence. As Congress members kept shouting slogans from the Well, a visibly exasperated Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said he is “helpless”. “You help me. I will be very grateful for that. Nobody is helping me,” he said.Naqvi cited Parliament rules and asked the Chair that those making noise in the House should be “sent outside”. “Rules will help you. Please send them out and give them leave, those who are making noise here, so that they can introspect on how they are harming national interest. Let them shout at Jantar Mantar or sit at dharna at Gandhi Samadhi.Some good sense could prevail on them after that. “No charcha (debate), only kharcha (expenditure). Common man is being burdened. Development and reforms have been stalled for their own political interest. The House needs the Chair’s protection. The Chairman should use his authority to protect the interests of the House,” Naqvi said.However, Congress members kept on shouting. Kurien said that such “howling” is not good. As the din continued, he adjourned the House till 3 PM.The same situation prevailed when the House met again.Kurien said, “I am sorry, our members are howling and shouting. What can I do? I cannot take up the bill. It is very unfortunate and sad state of affairs. Amid din, the Chair allowed members to lay their Special Mentions. Kurien appealed to Congress members to allow the House to function, but they did not relent, forcing him to call it a day.

Probe, punishment to those guilty of killing Indian national in Nepal sought: Government


India has asked Nepal to initiate an investigation and punish those responsible for the killing of an Indian national in firing by security forces of that country on November 2.”Our Consulate at Birgunj has requested Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Nepal on November 2, 2015 to initiate investigation and punish the guilty at the earliest,” Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha. He said the Nepal government’s response is awaited.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The minister said Asish Ram alias Sonu Ram, son of Ashok Ram, a resident of Raxaul in East Champaran of Bihar was killed in firing by Nepalese security forces at Shankaracharya gate near Birgunj Bhansar (Nepal) on November 2 when he was returning from Birgunj after meetings friends and relatives. In reply to another question on membership in Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Singh said India has expressed its interest and has formally applied for membership of MTCR in June.”Its application has been received well. Chairman of the NSG was in New Delhi in October 2015 for discussions on NSG and nuclear commerce. India continues to be in touch with NSG Chairman and individual members of the NSG in this regard,” he said. Singh added that a number of NSG member countries like US, Russia, France, Japan, Australia, Germany, Republic of Korea and Spain have expressed their supprt for India’s membership in recognition of India’s record on non-prolification and the robustness of its export controls.”India will apply for membership of NSG when the ground is adequately prepared for our membership,” he said.

Beef vs Pork fest: Police step in to stop both events on Osmania University campus

The DCP also sought the co-operation of students to enusre peace, adding all possible steps would be taken to maintain tranquillity in the campus.

Seeking to avoid a showdown between rival camps of students at Osmania University by holding “beef” and “pork” festivals on the same day, police on Friday stepped in saying they would not permit any event that would mar peace in the campus. “In order to maintain peace and tranquillity on the campus, with regard to proposed festivities in the Osmania University campus in next 8 days, it is decided not to permit celebration of any festivities on the campus by any students/ organisations/groups,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (East Zone) A Ravinder said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The DCP also sought the co-operation of students to ensure peace, adding all possible steps would be taken to maintain tranquillity in the campus. While Leftist student organisations have declared that they would hold a ‘beef festival’ on December 10 in the campus, coinciding with the World Human Rights Day, another group of students announced plans to organise a ‘pork festival’ in parallel on the same day, setting the stage for a confrontation.Escalating the row, BJP MLA Raja Singh had said that he would stop the proposed ‘beef festival’ and called for a ‘Chalo University’ march on that day. The university authorities had earlier said that activities such as ‘beef festival’ and ‘gau (cow) puja’, which are not related to academics and research, will not be permitted in the campus. Meanwhile,Chairman of the Minorities’ Commission for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Abid Rasool Khan, said he will write to Telangana government seeking action against Raja Singh for his alleged “provocative statements” on the issue. Asked about the MLA’s reported statement that he would “kill or be killed to protect cows” to oppose the beef festival, Khan said “Telangana government has to seriously look into this matter and we will also write to government in this regard.”The Commission, following complaints over Singh’s speeches, had called for reports from the state government and the police. The minorities panel serves both the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Tamil Nadu floods: Chennai Airport to remain closed till December 6 – Union Govt

Chennai Airport authorities had initially shut operations till this morning but extended following incessant rains.

As many as 3,500 people, including 1,500 passengers, were stranded this morning at the Chennai international airport, which has been closed for operations till next morning following flooding of the runway. Airports Authority of India (AAI) said all the stranded passengers are being moved out of the airport, but did not reveal the exact number of those evacuated so far. A NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) has been issued by AAI, which manages the airport, to all air operators with regard to suspension of flight operations till 6.00 am tomorrow. This notice is a communication that informs pilots about potential risks to flight safety.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 1,500 passengers and 2,000 others working at the airport were stranded there in the morning, AAI Chairman R K Srivastava said. The process of evacuation of passengers is underway and the exercise is expected to be completed by this evening. “All passengers are expected to be evacuated by 4.00 pm today. AAI has arranged six buses to evacuate the passengers from the airport,” Srivastava said in New Delhi.Srivastava said 66 arrivals and 53 departures have been cancelled since 2000 hours yesterday. “The runway is flooded but the terminal building is safe,” he added. Chennai Airport authorities had initially shut operations till this morning but extended following incessant rains. Nearly 35-37 aircraft, mostly of domestic airliners, are grounded at the airport. The situation at the airport would be reviewed again tomorrow before giving the go ahead for resumption of flight operations, Srivastava said. Union Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju said everything has been “paralysed” at the airport. “A lot of things (sic) are stranded at the airport. So the chairman of Airport Authority has tried to develop a plan to make available some essential material like drinking water, and food…staff is also trying. Everything is paralysed,” he said.Asked when the flight operations were likely to resume, he said, “If the rain stops, then only we can give you some type of time frame, but if it won’t stop then we can’t say anything as Chennai and neighbouring districts are badly affected. If water recedes, then only we will be able to do something”.

Lawyers should not go on strike: Supreme Court

The court also observed that there is a constitution bench judgment of the Supreme Court prohibiting strike by lawyers.

The Supreme Court on Friday said lawyers should not go on strike or give calls to boycott courts, while allowing a months time to the Bar bodies to convene a meeting to solve the problem “once and for all”. “My view is that the lawyers should not go on strike,” a bench of justices Kurian Joseph and Arun Mishra said, adding that it’s like “Brahmastra” (weapon created by Brahma) one should use it in a difficult situation, but now a days this is being used frequently.The court also observed that there is a constitution bench judgment of the Supreme Court prohibiting strike by lawyers. “This is a very serious problem, it needs to worked out,” the bench said. The court’s oral observation was made during hearing of a PIL by NGO Common Cause through advocate Prashant Bhushan, which has approached the apex court against the recent strike of lawyers in the Delhi High Court and District Courts on the issue of pecuniary jurisdiction.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for the Bar, said “not to work is also a constitutional right…”. He, however, said that we can sit down in the family of lawyers and decide the issue. Responding to this, the bench said that in a months time meeting of the important sections of the Bar Associations be called to see if problem can be sorted out once and for all.The court also directed Chairman of Coordination Committee of District Bar Association, Delhi High Court Bar Association and Bar Council of India to reply to the notices issued to them as to why action for contempt of court should not be taken against them for willful violation of the constitution bench judgement.

Need collaborative not confrontationist politics: Venkaiah Naidu

Government is keen that the key tax reforms legislation, the GST bill, is passed in Parliament and is ready to walk the extra mile and engage with the opposition to iron out differences on the issue.

With government making all-out efforts to get key pending legislations passed in Parliament, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister said,

File Photo
As the winter session of Parliament started on Thursday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the country needs collaborative and not confrontationist politics and people are in no mood to accept negativism. “Country needs collaborative politics and not confrontationist politics. People are keenly watching law makers. They are in no mood to accept negativism,” he said, noting that the all-party meeting held yesterday has raised hopes of a better session. “Winter session of Parliament begins today. There are concerns of people over functioning of Parliament and expectations from this session,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>His remarks come in the backdrop of a washout of the Monsoon session of Parliament with key legislations pushed by the government left pending. Naidu said both the government and the opposition have clearly defined responsibilities in parliamentary democracy. While government has to perform and deliver as per the mandate given by the people, he said the opposition has to keep a watch on the government while at the same time enable Parliament to meet the aspirations of people. “So, both government and opposition are under pressure – government to perform and opposition to conduct itself in a constructive manner,” he said. With government making all-out efforts to get key pending legislations passed in Parliament, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister said, “There is no issue that can’t be resolved through dialogue and we are for dialogue. Government voluntarily offered to discuss the so-called issue of intolerance even before opposition raised it in the all-party meet yesterday,” he said. Government is keen that the key tax reforms legislation, the GST bill, is passed in Parliament and is ready to walk the extra mile and engage with the opposition to iron out differences on the issue. Naidu said to commemorate the adoption of Constitution on November 26, 1949, the first Constitution Day is being observed today. Parliament is holding a special sitting on November 26 and 27, remembering Dr B R Ambedkar and other founding fathers of the Constitution and as a mark of respect to them, holding a discussion on the Constitution. With several members wishing to participate in the debate, Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai said the Chair would not restrict the time for members to speak, but urged them to be brief so that other members can participate.” Anand Rao Adsul (Shiv Sena) said the name of Ambedkar and Indian constitution are intertwined with each other. Launching an attack on the Congress, he said this party had ruled the country for 55 years of the 65 years of the Constitution, but “still the country did not grow enough.” He also criticised the Congress for not feeling the need to observe Constitution Day in the past 65 years. He also attacked Congress President Sonia Gandhi, saying she had claimed that Congress had made Ambedkar the Chairman of the drafting committee of the Constitution, but it was the same Congress party which fielded candidates against him in two subsequent elections.”People who made him Chairman of the drafting committee themselves put up candidates to oppose Ambedkar in two elections which he contested from Mumbai. And the result was Babasaheb Ambedkar lost both the times,” Adsul added. K Rammohan Naidu (TDP) said the Constitution acted as a unifying factor amidst the diversity of India. “No matter how good a Constitution we have, it depends on how good the Government is, which will interpret and implement the Constitution. It will depend on the Centre on how much importance it gives to federalism,” he said. He said Congress adopted a “big brother” and not an “elder brother” attitude while dividing Andhra Pradesh.Observing that Ambedkar had kept in mind the interests of the weaker sections while framing Constitution, Naidu demanded extending the reservation available in government jobs to the private sector. Jitendra Chowdhury (CPI-M) too demanded reservation for minorities. He said while OBCs and minorities comprised 85 per cent of population, the prevalent reservation ratio does not match the population ratio. Demanding for reservation for women in legislature in order to empower them, Chowdhury said that allocation for SC and STs in the budget be increased, saying “unless reservation for SC, ST is done, the community will not get job opportunity in our country.”Participating in discussion, Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP) said that like August 15 and January 26 are celebrated as Independence Day and Republic Day, November 26 too should be celebrated as Constitution Day. As soon as the House met after lunch, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu requested all members to maintain decorum while participating in the discussion on the committment to the Constitution. “All sides should maintain decorum so that a proper message goes to the people… It is my plea (to the members),” Naidu said while referring to the protests and heated exchanges witnessed in the House when Home Minister Rajnath Singh initiated the discussion.BJD’s Tathagata Satpathy cited a concept of the founders of Dravida Kazhagam movement in South India and remarked that they had said if the largest number of people are speaking one language then it should be the national language. “Then the crow, having the largest population among birds, should become your national bird,” the BJD member noted citing that concept. “As a government why would you have pictures of certain Gods in government offices and not pictures of other Gods,” Satpathy wondered. During the discussion, BJP member S S Ahluwalia said that Sudip Bandyopadhyay’s statement that in the Constituent Assembly Ambedkar represented Bengal was incorrect.In response, TMC member and historian Sugata Bose clarified that Ambedkar indeed represented Bengal at that time. “Ambedkar represented Jessore and Khulna constituencies from undivided Bengal. When Partition happened, these areas went to Pakistan Constituent Assembly,” he said. As it was important that Ambedkar was re-elected to the Constituent Assembly, he was elected from what was then Bombay Province, Bose noted.

dna’s Raman Kirpal, Hakeem Irfan win Goenka Award

This was the eighth edition of the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards.

Hakeem Irfan (L) and Raman Kirpal receive the Ramnath Goenka Award from information & broadcasting minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi on Monday. They were awarded for ‘Best Investigative Reporting’ for the year 2014

dna’s Raman Kirpal and Hakeem Irfan were named winners for the Ramnath Goenka Award for Best Investigative Reporting for 2014. What won them the award was a series of investigative reports on former director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Ranjit Sinha. The reports, which were based on the visitors’ entry register at Sinha’s official residence, exposed the nexus between powerful corporate houses, politicians and the country’s top investigating official, and his links with those accused in the 2G as well the coal scam.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> This was the eighth edition of the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards. Sudhir Chaudhary of Zee News, dna’s sister-concern, won an award in the Uncovering India Invisible category in the Hindi broadcast news for 2013. He won the award for his interview with the friend of the Delhi December 16 gang-rape victim. The Supreme Court took cognisance of dna’s reports, setting up an inquiry against Sinha and removing him from the investigations. The highlight of the function was actor Aamir Khan’s candid conversation with Anant Goenka, son of Viveck Goenka, chairman and managing director of Indian Express Ltd. “For the first time, my wife Kiran has spoken about moving out of the country. She fears for her kids,” Khan said on the issue of intolerance. Khan said that there was a sense of growing insecurity and fear in the country in the last six months. He also spoke about the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), saying it was behaving in an alarming way. Khan’s statements directly contradicted finance and I&B minister Arun Jaitley, the chief guest at the award ceremony, who had recently claimed that India is a tolerant country and there in no intolerance here. Jaitley, while remembering his days with Ramnath Goenka, said the latter had always kept his paper away from his other business interests. Twenty-nine winners of 2013 and 27 from 2014 received the awards from Jaitley. The winners were chosen by a five-member jury, comprising former Supreme Court Judge B N Srikrishna, HDFC Ltd Chairman Deepak Parekh, Sashi Kumar, Founder, Asianet TV Channel, and Chairman of Asian College of Journalism; former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi and journalist Pamela Philipose. The Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards honours the finest works in Indian journalism – in print and TV – across languages.

Bombay High Court summons real-estate baron Sunil Mantri in Rs 300-crore cheating case

Bombay High Court asks Sunil Mantri to appear before it in person tomorrow.

Chairman and managing director of Mantri Realty, Sunil Mantri.

There are more than 50 cases against the chairman and managing director of Mantri Realty before the HC, and the court has asked him to appear before it in person on Tuesday. After Sunil Mantri allegedly cheated investors, home-buyers and borrowers to the tune of over Rs 300 crore, the HC has also called for the appointment of an official liquidator to take symbolic possession of Mantri Realty-owned assets. He will also be not able to dispose of any fixed asset of his company without the court’s permission.One of the cases was filed by Ashok Commercial Enterprises. The company has filed a Rs 71-crore cheating case against him. It had loaned this amount to Mantri Realty at an interest rate of 24%. When it sought the money back, Mantri failed to pay up. When Ashok Commercial filed a case, Mantri issued a cheque, which bounced twice. The complaint was filed a few months ago at the Malabar Hill police station. The police have since transferred the case to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mantri is also the president of the National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO), an umbrella body of developers.The 50 cases have been clubbed under Section 1001 of the Companies Act in the HC, and hearing on the cases is set to take place before a bench headed by justice K R Shriram on Tuesday. Advocate Anil Agarwal, one of the victims, claimed that Mantri had borrowed money from him with a promise that it will be returned with 22-36% interest rate.”We tried to contact Mr Mantri on several occasions, but he is no reachable. He has also changed his contact number. His staffers are not answering calls,” he said.”Mantri has a big office in Marine Drive, which is virtually deserted. It seems he has shifted to a different location. We do not know where to contact him. The court is our last hope,” said Agarwal.Agarwal said that when investors and buyers ask their money back, Mantri would offer them properties in other states as compensation.”If I am a resident of Mumbai, why should I buy property in Madhya Pradesh or somewhere else? We are feeling cheated by this so-called big brand. Mr Mantri is the chairman of NAREDCO, which is affiliated to the Central government’s urban development department. He has been misusing his position to deceive gullible investors and buyers. We demand a probe into his transactions and confiscation of properties,” Agarwal said.On Sunday evening, dna spoke to Mantri. “The matter is sub judice. There were some technical issues, which resulted in the delay. However, we will be paying back all investors and borrowers,” he said.

Bonanza for govt staff: 7th Pay Commission recommends 23.55% hike; OROP for civilians too

New Delhi: In a big bonanza to central employees and pensioners, the seventh Pay Commission today recommended a 23.55 per cent increase in salary, allowances and pension along with a virtual one-rank-one-pension for civilians, involving an additional outgo of Rs 1.02 lakh crore a year.

A minimum pay of Rs 18,000 per month and a maximum of Rs 2.5 lakh per month has been recommended by the Commission, headed by Justice AK Mathur, that presented its 900-page report to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi.

The recommendations, which are to be implemented from January 1, 2016, will benefit 47 lakh central government employees and 52 lakh pensioners.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The impact the recommendations will be Rs 1.02 lakh crore — Rs 73,650 cr on Central Budget and Rs 28,450 cr on Railway Budget.

The award of the pay panel will also benefit staff of autonomous bodies, universities and public sector units, Jaitley said after receiving the report.

“In percentage terms, the overall increase in pay and allowance and pensions over the business-as-usual scenario will be 23.55 per cent,” the report said. Within this, the increase in pay will be 16 per cent, in allowances 63 per cent and in pension would be 24 per cent, it said.

The total salary and pension bill of the central government, which will also include railway employees, will go up from estimated Rs 4.33 lakh crore to Rs 5.35 lakh crore during 2016-17.

The panel has suggested abolition of the pay band and the grade pay, though it retained the annual increment of 3 per cent.

It has also recommended a fitment factor of 2.57 which will be applied uniformally to all employees.

Without calling it one-rank-one-pension (OROP), the Pay Commission recommended a revised pension formulation for the central government employees, including para-military personnel as well as for defence staff who have retired before January 1, 2016.

The Chairman and other member Dr Rathin Roy recommended the age of superannuation for all central armed forces personnel to be raised to 60 years from current 58 years, another member Vivek Rae did not agree with it. He endorsed the stand of Home Ministry.

The formulation will bring parity between past pensioners and current retirees for the same length of service in the pay scale at the time of retirement.

In a significant recommendation, it enhanced the ceiling of gratuity from the existing Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh. And the same will be raised by 25 per cent whenever DA be raised by 50 per cent.

In the new pay structure, the grade pay has been subsumed in the pay matrix and the status of the employee, now determined by grade pay, will now be determined by the level in the matrix.

Introduction of a health insurance scheme for employees and pensioners has been recommended. Meanwhile for the benefit of pensioners outside the CGHS areas, CGHS should empanel those hospitals which are already empanelled under CS(MA)/ECHS for catering to the medical requirement of these pensioners on a cashless basis.

All postal pensioners must be covered under CGHS. All postal dispensaries should be merged with CGHS.

Under the central government employees group insurance scheme, the rates of contribution as well as insurance coverage have now been enhanced suitably. Monthly deduction has been raised from Rs 120 per month to Rs 5,000 and insurance cover from Rs 1.2 lakh to Rs 50 lakh for senior most level. At the bottom of the matrix, it has been raised from Rs 30 per month to Rs 1,500 and the cover hiked from Rs 30,000 to Rs 15 lakh.

The Commission recommended abolition of all non-interest bearing advances and increased the limit for interest-bearing advances for buying home from Rs 7.5 lakh to Rs 25 lakh.

Under the Modified Assured Career Progression (MACP) the Commission has proposed that annual increments not be granted in the case of those employees who are not able to meet the benchmark either for MACP or for a regular promotion in the first 20 years of their service.

The Commission has also recommended introduction of the Performance Related Pay (PRP) for all categories of Central Government employees, based on quality Results Framework Documents, reformed Annual Performance Appraisal Reports and some other broad Guidelines. It suggested that the PRP should subsume the existing Bonus schemes.

It has suggested revision of rates of lump sum compensation for next of kin (NOK) in case of death arising in various circumstances relating to performance of duties, to be applied uniformly for the defence forces personnel and civilians including CAPF personnel.

In view of grievances relating to New Pension Scheme (NPS), it suggested steps to improve the functioning of scheme and establishment of a strong grievance redressal mechanism.

The Commission has recommended a consolidated monthly pay package of Rs 4.50 lakh and Rs 4 lakh for chairpersons and members respectively of the regulatory bodies.

In case of retired government servants, it said, their pension should not be deducted from their consolidated pay. The consolidated pay package should be raised by 25 per cent and Dearness Allowance by 50 per cent.


Karnataka: Process for removal of Lokayukta started

A petition seeking removal of Rao as Lokayukta with 46 members of BJP and 37 of JD(S) signing it was separately submitted to Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa, as the winter session of the state legislature is underway.

Setting the ball rolling for removal of controversial Karnataka Lokayukta Y Bhaskar Rao, Opposition parties on Tuesday petitioned the Assembly Speaker initiating the process for his exit over an alleged extortion racket in the anti-graft ombudsman’s office involving his son.A petition seeking removal of Rao as Lokayukta with 46 members of BJP and 37 of JD(S) signing it was separately submitted to Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa, as the winter session of the state legislature is underway.Rao, who has been sticking to his guns despite calls for his resignation, is on a long leave since July after his son Ashwin Rao was arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in connection with the case.Speaking to reporters after receiving the petition, Thimmappa said, “As per the amended Act, at least 72 members have to sign, so there is adequate numbers now. I will call for a meeting of all parties and discuss how to go forward and will then take the action. We will come to a decision in two or three days.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming it a “legally complicated matter”, Thimmappa said, “I want to have a unanimous opinion on this.” Thimmappa said after verifying the petition, he and Chairman of the Legislative Council will have to write to the High Court Chief Justice to constitute an inquiry committee. “…..the three members, consisting two members appointed by Chief Justice and one member appointed by us will inquire and come out with a finding which will be placed before the Legislature and final decision will be taken.” “…as this matter will go before the committee that will have retired High Court Judge, we will have to look at things responsibly and move forward in this matter,” he added.Under attack from the Opposition for allegedly soft-pedalling serious charges of corruption in the office of the Lokayukta, the state government had in July tabled the Karnataka Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2015 pertaining to removal of anti-corruption ombudsman, which was passed. The passage of the bill has made the process of removal of the Lokayukta simpler. Karnataka Lokayukta Joint Commissioner (PRO) Syed Riaz and a few others were also arrested in connection with the scandal. The scandal came to light after Lokayukta Superintendent of Police Sonia Narang wrote a letter to the Registrar of Karnataka Lokayukta, about the complaint she received from a person who alleged that someone from the Lokayukta office demanded Rs 1 crore in bribe to avoid a raid.Speaking to reporters after meeting the Speaker, Leader of Opposition BJP in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar said, “we expect this process for the removal of Lokayukta is completed soon.” “Lokayukta institution which is to protect people is on the verge of loosing its significance today, because of Bhaskar Rao…; his removal is of prime importance to protect this institution….” he added. Expressing a similar opinion, JD(S) leader Y S V Datta said that at the Business Advisory Committee meeting yesterday all the parties including the ruling party leaders have expressed feeling that Lokayukta Bhaskar Rao has to go. “….by initiating this process we will be able to send a clear message to people that legislature is in no way trying to protect Lokayukta,” he added.According to the Act, the notice of motion for removal of Lokayukta may be given in writing to the Speaker or Chairman of the state Council duly signed by not less than one-third of the total membership of both the Houses. On admission of the motion, they shall refer the matter to the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court for investigation on the grounds over which the removal is prayed for.If the misbehaviour or incapacity of Lokayukta shall be deemed to have been proved by the inquiry, it is then taken up for consideration by the House where the motion for removal is pending. Once the motion is adopted, an address praying for removal is presented to the Governor duly signed by the Speaker and the Chairman. Once the Governor gives assent to the address, the Lokayukta shall be deemed to have been removed from office in accordance with the law.The investigation for proof of misbehaviour or incapacity of Lokayukta has to be done as provided in the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968, by a three-member committee, comprising two judges and a jurist. The entire process is expected to take some months before it sees the exit of Lokayukta.

US-bound Sushma Swaraj returns from mid-way in wake of Paris attacks

Los Angeles: The terror assaults in France have cast a shadow over the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Los Angeles with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who was on her way to the US to inaugurate the event, returning to India from mid-way in the wake of the attacks.

The Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas kicked off on Saturday with hundreds of attendees honouring the victims of the horrific attacks with a minute’s silence.

File photo of Sushma Swaraj. AFPFile photo of Sushma Swaraj. AFP

File photo of Sushma Swaraj. AFP

Swaraj, who was on her way to the US, returned to New Delhi from mid-way in view of the Paris terror attacks.

Officials in New Delhi said Swaraj, who had a transit halt at Dubai on her way to the US, came back from there itself after hearing about the attacks in Paris that claimed over 120 lives.

Gen (rtd) V K Singh, the Minister of State for External Affairs, is now expected to attend the two-day event.

As the nearly 1,000 Indian-Americans attending the two-day event in Los Angeles mourned the loss of lives in the Paris terror attacks, top American lawmaker from California Brad Sherman said the attack in the French capital had all the hallmarks of the Mumbai terror attack that was launched in November 2008 by Lashkar-e-Taiba with the support of the Pakistani Army and its intelligence agencies.

“Today we should take a moment to reflect the attacks in Paris, New York, Iraq… and Mumbai. The Paris attack is based on model of the Mumbai terrorist attack,” said Sherman, a former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Sub-committee on Terrorism.

The Paris and Mumbai attacks have shown how a small group of people can create havoc in a city.

“Attack on Mumbai was supported by LeT, Pakistan Army and its intelligence agency. The planning for this took several years,” he said adding that now ISIS has adopted the Mumbai model in Paris.

“We have to stand up to terrorism to say enough is enough,” Sherman said.

In his address at the event, Indian Ambassador to the US Arun K Singh said there is an increasing desire among the Indian-Americans to connect with India.

Among the Indian diaspora, there is consciousness about the growing opportunities in India, he said.

Referring to the steps taken by the Narendra Modi-led government in the last 18 months, the Ambassador said with the changes happening in India there are growing opportunities in the country.

In the first six months of this year, India received the maximum FDI. India also topped the degree of confidence index this year, he said .

Indian-Americans, Singh said, have been contributing a lot to the development of both India and the United States.

The Indian government yesterday announced new internship programme for Indian-Americans youths in India.

“Indian American community is playing an essential role in America in every way,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu, Chairman of the powerful Asian Pacific American Caucus.

At the event, Kali P Chaudhuri, Chairman and Founder of the KPC Group of Companies, was presented with the NRI of the Year Award.

The Indian Consul General at the Indian Consulate in San Francisco Venkatesan Ashok also spoke on the occasion.

Anil K Agarwal, Secretary in the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, said the Indian Diaspora is making a very important contribution to the India-US relationship.

Noting that somewhere deep in the heart of the Indian-Americans there is desire to make India a country of opportunities as is this country, he said, “We in Ministry our task to provide you with a platform to fulfil this desire of yours.”

The theme of the event is ‘The Indian Diaspora: Defining a New Paradigm in India-US relationship’ which aims to capture the ethos of the India-US relationship.

Los Angeles is only the second US city to host the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (RPBD), after New York.

Previous venues for RPBD events were London, Sydney, Toronto, Singapore, Durban, Mauritius and The Hague.

The Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) of the Confederation of Indian Industry also organised an Indian Diaspora Business Meet on the sidelines of the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

Officials from Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand and Kerala also participated in the business meet.

The inaugural event was followed by a cultural extravaganza.


NDMC mulling regularisation of over 7,000 contractual employees

Taking a cue from the announcement made by the Arvind Kejriwal government to regularise contractual staff, the NDMC has given an in-principle approval to a proposal mooted by its Vice Chairman Karan Singh Tanwar to ensure that the contractual staff gets regularised.

The New Delhi Municipal Council is considering the regularisation of around 7,000 contractual workers and is in the process of studying its modalities.Taking a cue from the announcement made by the Arvind Kejriwal government to regularise contractual staff, the NDMC has given an in-principle approval to a proposal mooted by its Vice Chairman Karan Singh Tanwar to ensure that the contractual staff gets regularised.”The council had given a nod to the proposal in its recent meeting and had given a time of 15 days to the civic body to prepare a draft of the modalities required to do the same. The matter will be placed in the next meeting scheduled later this month,” a senior NDMC official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There are around 7,000 contractual employees working under different grades in NDMC. Some of them have been working for years but since they are unregularised employees, it has impacted the quality of services provided by them as they are always under the fear that they can be sacked any time,” he added.In January last year, the NDMC had approved the regularisation of jobs of 628 contractual employees on muster roll and those who had completed 500 days of service by April 1, 2014.However, the council later decided to form a committee after some members suggested that people on temporary muster roll should also be considered for regularisation.”All these issues will be taken into consideration during the preparation of the draft detailing the modalities,” the official said.

All you need to know about GSAT-15

A high power satellite, GSAT-15 was inducted into the INSAT/GSAT system.

GSAT-15, India’s latest communications satellite, was launched successfully by the European Ariane 5 VA-227 launch Vehicle in the early hours today. ISRO’s Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka has taken over the command and control and the preliminary health checks of the satellite revealed its normal health. The Indian satellite with a design life of 12 years.Here is that all you need to know about the satellite:About GSAT-15A high power satellite, GSAT-15 was inducted into the INSAT/GSAT system. GSAT-15 carries a total of 24 communication transponders in Ku-band as well as a GPS-Aided GEO Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) payload operating in L1 and L5 bands. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>How it will help IndiaProviding replacement for the Ku-band capacity of INSAT-3A and INSAT-4B satellites, GSAT-15 will augment and support the existing DTH and VSAT services in the country. The GAGAN payload will meet in-orbit redundancy requirement for Safety of Life (SOL) operations benefiting the civil aviation services and other users of augmented GPS-based systems in the country.”The launch of GSAT-15 will be one more step towards further strengthening the satellite navigation infrastructure and sustaining the communication infrastructure in the country,” ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar said in a recorded video message.WIth agency inputs

OROP row: Not all demands can be fulfilled, says Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar

“This is democracy. Everyone has the right to demand. But the maximum… their main demand for same pension for same rank has been given. Rest is everything that we had declared (on September 5). Out of that, the confusion about VRS has been removed,” Parrikar said on the sidelines of a function here.

With the protesting ex-servicemen dissatisfied with the formal notification of one rank, one pension (OROP) scheme, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said that everyone has a right to make a demand in democracy but not all demands can be fulfilled.Underlining that the “maximum” demands of the veterans have been fulfilled, he said the judicial commission that will be set up, will look into the “problems”.”This is democracy. Everyone has the right to demand. But the maximum… their main demand for same pension for same rank has been given. Rest is everything that we had declared (on September 5). Out of that, the confusion about VRS has been removed,” Parrikar said on the sidelines of a function here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said, “Har ek cheez mangte hai, wohi agar satisfy hone laga to kabhi khatam nahi hoga, aur koi kuchh aur mangega (even if all demands are satifisfied, someone will ask for something else).”The minister said that the “basic core issue” has been addressed and if there is a problem, the judicial commission will look into that.He was replying to questions on veterans being unhappy with the OROP notification issued by the government on Saturday.The notification is more or less in line with what Parrikar had announced on September 5.However, it has dropped the contentious proposal to exclude ex-servicemen who had sought premature retirement from the ambit of OROP.But the armed forces personnel who opt to get discharged on their request would henceforth not get OROP benefits.”It will be effective prospectively,” according to the notification.The notification does not include the demands for an annual equalisation of revised pension, for pegging the pension to the maximum of the current pensioners, and for appointing an expert commission with serving military personnel and ex-servicemen representatives.Ex-servicemen who have been protesting at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi since June, rejected the notification.Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, Chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement spearheading the protest, had said on Saturday, “The notification will not be acceptable to the rank and file. It is not one rank, one pension but one rank, five pension.”He further said that this investment helps the government receive additional money from the equity market and thereby reduces the burden on the state exchequer.In its report, the finance department also recommended that pension should not be extended to newly-recruited employees or cadres and called for the appointment of actuarial firms to estimate the actual annual pensionary burden and set up a special fund on a permanent basis to meet future liabilities.”If we remove the pension facility, nobody will want to work with the government. Also, we have no right to set up a special fund out of the budget, otherwise the importance of Legislature will be over,” Kumar said.The proposal is currently lying with the finance department and is expected to be placed before the Cabinet in the coming days.

Price of Lord Balaji darshan tickets and laddus at Tirupati set to increase

Tirumala temple

dna Research & Archives
The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam Trust (TTD) has formed a committee to look into the rates of ‘arjitha sevalu’, ‘laddu’ and other ‘prasadalu’ and the tariffs of rooms and ‘kalyana mandapalu’ and increase the prices.The hike will be implemented in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, The New Indian Express reports.The TTD Board Chairman Chadalavada Krishnamurthy said that the board would ensure accountability of all their employees by keeping a watch on them. The board has also decided to directly meet the buyers of human hair from countries like Brazil, China and Japan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Rs 300 ticket advance booking counter may also open in Tirupati soon. The committee appointed to revise the prices will submit their report in two weeks.Related read: Queuing up for the famed and patented Sri Vari Laddu at Tirupati

PM Narendra Modi to lay stone of mobile hub in Tirupati

A number of Indian mobile vendors like Micromax, Lava, Karbonn and Celkon will set up their campuses at the 122-acre electronics manufacturing hub.

PM Modi will lay foundation to set up a dedicated mobile handset manufacturing facility in Tirupati tomorrow (File Photo)

Getty Images
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of country’s first mobile manufacturing electronics cluster in Tirupati tomorrow. “The Prime Minister will lay foundation to set up a dedicated mobile handset manufacturing facility in Tirupati tomorrow. This will be another important milestone to leverage the Andhra Pradesh’s ability to attract further investments,” Indian Cellular Association (ICA) President Pankaj Mohindroo said in a statement.A number of Indian mobile vendors like Micromax, Lava, Karbonn and Celkon will set up their campuses at the 122-acre electronics manufacturing hub. Celkon will get 20 acres, Micromax 15 acres, Karbonn 15.28 acres and Lava 20 acres in this Hub. All the 4 companies together are targeted to produce more than 7 crore mobile handsets per annum, the statement said. Celkon in a release said that manufacturing companies have agreed to invest a total of over Rs 2,000 crore and the cluster will create over 45,000 direct and indirect jobs. “Celkon will hire 80 per cent people with 10th and higher secondary passed students for assembly lines,” Celkon Chairman MD Guru said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The company has set target to start production of mobile phones at this cluster within next six months. “We will hire 60 per cent women for assembling lines to empower rural women,” Guru said. Mohindroo said that the Hub at Tirupati will create more than 10,000 jobs within a year and expects this hub to contribute at least 5 per cent of all-India target of 15 lakh jobs by the year 2019 from mobile manufacturing activities. Foxconn has already started operations in Andhra Pradesh for manufacturing brands like Xiaomi, Gionee etc.

J&K CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed condemns lynching of alleged cow smuggler in Himachal Pradesh

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today condemned the lynching of an alleged cow smuggler from Saharanpur by a mob in Himachal Pradesh.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today condemned the lynching of an alleged cow smuggler from Saharanpur by a mob in Himachal Pradesh.Sayeed expressed grave concern over incidents of mob lynching saying people cannot be allowed to take law into their own hands.”The killing of a youth by a mob in Himachal Pradesh is very unfortunate. We can’t allow Kangaroo courts to pronounce judgement and lynch people the way they did in Dadri and now in Himachal,” the Chief Minister said in a statement here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sayeed asked the government concerned to enforce rule of law and bring those responsible for such criminal acts to justice.He said incidents like Dadri and the ink-attack on ORF Chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni in Mumbai have made people “very insecure” which does not augur well for a country that has a proud past of cultural and religious inclusiveness.

Dr Subhash Chandra speaks at Zee Women Empowerment Awards in Jaipur

Subhash Chandra said that it is the women who run our lives and the society and they should be treated with utmost respect and equality.
File Photo

Zee Media on Thursday organised ‘Marudhara Women Empowerment Awards’ in Jaipur and to address the gathering was present Essel Group Chairman, Dr. Subhash Chandra. He spoke about the importance of women empowerment and the role women play in the society. He said that it is the women who run our lives and the society and they should be treated with utmost respect and equality. He also stressed on equal opportunities to be given to empower themselves. “If a woman wants she can take the avatar of ‘Maa Durga’ and diminish all wrongdoings in the society,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Watch more of what he said at the event here:

Caging of Ambedkar statues in Tamil Nadu points out something much darker and sinister

With the murder of a man in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, over rumours of cow slaughter and violence in the holy city of Varanasi over the issue of immersion of Ganesha idols, India perhaps seriously needs to take a look at how united and secular its society really is.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Yet another instance which points at the alarming tension within communities in the society is the caging of statues of Dr BR Ambedkar in Tamil Nadu.

Ambedkar, apart from being the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution, was also known for his intense campaigns against the discrimination against Dalits. It is no surprise that he has become one of the most respected leaders in India, especially among the Dalits.

What is disturbing, however, is that the threat of desecration of these statues of Ambedkar in Tamil Nadu is so high that authorities had to place these statues in a cage, according to this BBC report.

And why are these statues being desecrated? Because caste-based discrimination and oppression is still rampant in Tamil Nadu. The report adds that people against equal rights and freedoms being given to Dalits have often provoked rioting and bloodshed by desecrating Ambedkar statues, which includes garlanding those statues with slippers and even cutting off the heads of some statues.

What is even more shocking is that over 70 Dalits had been killed in Tamil Nadu in 2014, according to the report.

However, incidents of such desecration of Ambedkar statues are not just limited to Tamil Nadu.

In July, an Ambedkar statue in Ramayan village in Hansi sub-division of Hisar district in Haryana had been allegedly vandalised, police had said.

The police had also said that some miscreants had broken the fingers and thumb of the right hand of the statue and had thrown it in the bushes, according to PTI.

The villagers had found empty liquor bottles and glass from the scene, SDM Hansi Mukesh Solanki, who had visited the village, had said.

This was the second such incident of vandalism in the village. Five years ago too, an Ambedkar statue had been broken in the village by some miscreants.

In June, a statue of Ambedkar was allegedly vandalised at Palahi village near Phagwara in Punjab. The statue’s raised arm was found twisted and damaged, police had said.

Protesting against the incident, members of the Dalit community had blocked traffic on Phagwara-Chandigarh bypass in front of Palahi, at Bhullarai crossing of the bypass and Phagwara-Palahi crossing on Phagwara-Hoshiarpur road.

The protesters had alleged that it was the second such incident of vandalisation in two-and-half-months. Earlier, a statue of Ambedkar had been damaged in local Palahigate mohalla in the intervening night of 4-5 April and police had failed to trace the miscreants, they had alleged.

(With inputs from PTI)

Had several issues to worry about as PM, not possible to recollect every coal block guidelines, says Manmohan Singh to CBI

He maintained that he went by the advice of Parakh on the letter written by HINDALCO Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla for allocation of the coal block. Parakh was the “best qualified person to give me advice” on that letter, he added.

Former PM Manmohan Singh

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has told CBI that he had “many other issues to worry” being at the helm of the government and it was practically not possible for him to know and recollect every guideline on coal block allocation.On the contrary, he contended that it was for the then Coal Secretary PC Parakh to highlight those guidelines if they had a bearing on the decisions to be taken as Minister of Coal, a portfolio he was holding during 2005 when the issue of allocation of coal block for HINDALCO was discussed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He maintained that he went by the advice of Parakh on the letter written by HINDALCO Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla for allocation of the coal block. Parakh was the “best qualified person to give me advice” on that letter, he added.In his statement recorded in January before the CBI, which was probing the alleged scam in allotting the coal block to HINDALCO, he said he was not under pressure to accommodate the private firm in Odisha’s Talabira-II coal block allocation. He has been summoned as accused by a special court in this regard.Singh said there was “no undue haste” in arriving at a decision on the issue and the final decision on allocation of Talabira-II and III coal block was based on the examination and recommendation of Parakh which was endorsed by senior officials of PMO.The Supreme Court had on April 1 stayed the trial court’s order summoning Singh and others, including industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and ex-Coal Secretary PC Parakh, as accused in the case. Singh, who was also the Minister of Coal at that time, was questioned by the CBI on January 19 this year after the trial court had on December 16, 2014, directed the agency to examine him in the case.”On being asked about the relevant guidelines framed by Ministry of Coal which were applicable for allocation of coal block in 2005, especially to such parties who have already been allocated adequate coal linkage for their projects, I state that I do not recollect the applicable guidelines,” Singh has told the investigating officer.”As the Prime Minister of the country, I have many other issues to worry about and it is not practically possible for me to know and recollect such guidelines. It is for the Secretary (Coal) to highlight those guidelines in his note/ report if such guidelines would have a bearing on the decision to be taken as Minister of Coal,” Singh said in his statement which has been placed on record before the court by CBI.He also said it was not “humanly possible” at his level to go through all the previous files. Singh, however, clarified that there was no question of any pressure on him or any officials to accommodate HINDALCO in the block.”….I would like to state that there was no direction or pressure placed on any official to condition them to put up a particular recommendation. I also state that there was no question of any influence or pressure on me on this issue of accommodating HINDALCO in Talabira-II coal block,” he said.Singh also told the CBI that being the Prime Minister, he cannot be expected to divulge into earlier files and see what were the applicable guidelines on these issues and it was for the Coal Secretary to bring out such issues to his knowledge.”I state that it was the job of the Secretary, MoC, to highlight all the relevant facts and circumstances concerning the issue being put up to me for a decision. I cannot be expected to know all the relevant facts connected to the issue. During 2005, PC Parakh was the Secretary, MoC,” he said.”On being asked I repeat that in dealing with this case, I was not under any pressure nor did I exercise any undue pressure on officials of the PMO or Coal Ministry, other than my general instructions that significant representations received from the CMs of states and other be processed expeditiously,” Singh told the agency

In landmark business deal, Godrej sells BKC office space to Abbott for 1,480 crore

New Delhi: In one of the largest office space deals, Godrej Properties has sold a 4.35 lakh sq ft in commercial project at BKC, Mumbai, to healthcare products major Abbott for about Rs 1,480 crore.

Abbott plans to use the space as its corporate office, bringing together all of its business in the city at one location. This is a part of the company’s deepening commitment in India, Abbott said in a statement.

It will house more than 1,500 employees. The company expects to occupying this building from 2016.

In a filing to the BSE, Godrej Properties on Wednesday announced that “the company has entered into a transaction for selling 4,35,000 sq ft of saleable area at its commercial project Godrej BKC in Bandra Kulra Complex (BKC) Mumbai to a single user for a total consideration of Rs 1,479 crore.”

Pirojsha Godrej. Image courtesy: Screengrab from moneycontrol.comPirojsha Godrej. Image courtesy: Screengrab from

Pirojsha Godrej. Image courtesy: Screengrab from

This is the highest ever value for any single end-user commercial real estate transaction in India, it added.

“This deal will be an important driver of our plans to unlock capital invested in our commercial portfolio and will hasten the pace of our growth going forward,” Godrej Properties MD & CEO Pirojsha Godrej said.

When contacted, Godrej said the fund would be utilised to reduce the company’s debt significantly and for future growth. “We still have 3 lakh sq ft left in the project which will be monetised over the next one year,” Godrej told PTI.

In a separate statement, Abbott Chairman and CEO Miles D White said: “India is one of the most important places in the world for Abbott, and we’re investing here accordingly. We intend to be a strong, committed, and contributing part of India’s future.”

Godrej BKC, which is being developed in partnership with Jet Airways, is a large high-end commercial project with about 1.3 million sq ft of saleable area. This project would be completed and be ready for occupancy by mid-2016. The company said ‘Godrej BKC’ project has been planned as the country’s premier office address. Larsen & Toubro (L&T) is constructing the project.

In May, Pirojsha Godrej had said that the company is targeting to sell Rs 2,000 crore worth commercial assets over the next 2-3 years to reduce debt, which stood at Rs 2,764 crore as on March 31, 2015.

Although the real estate market is facing a huge slowdown for the last 2-3 years, the office space segment is performing well with increased leasing activities on the back of growth in e-commerce business. Recently, Flipkart leased over 2 million sq ft of office space in Bengaluru.

Godrej is developing residential, commercial and township projects spread across 110.30 million sq ft in 12 cities.

Abbott has 4 primary businesses in India – diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generic pharmaceuticals. It has 14,000 employees working in manufacturing, research and development, logistics, sales and marketing in India.


After blackout, Nepal government asks cable operators to air Indian TV channels

The Nepal government on Tuesday asked cable operators to continue the broadcast of Indian TV channels and sought explanation from them for blacking out the channels in the wake of blockade of trade checkpoints with India by agitators opposing the new Constitution.

Protest against the Nepal constitution

Image Courtesy : Wikimedia commons
The Nepal government on Tuesday asked cable operators to continue the broadcast of Indian TV channels and sought explanation from them for blacking out the channels in the wake of blockade of trade checkpoints with India by agitators opposing the new Constitution.The Ministry of Information and Communications sought clarification from various cable operators as to why action must not be taken against them as they have violated the National Broadcasting Act.Cable TV operators in Nepal today stopped airing all the Indian channels to protest blockade of a key trade checkpoint with India by agitators opposing Nepal’s new Constitution. The Ministry said that the cable operators violated the provisions and had stopped broadcasting the channels without any prior notice.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Ministry has asked them to furnish clarification within 24 hours and continue the broadcast. President of Federation of Nepal Cable Television Association, Sushil Parajuli on Monday said that the cable operators decided to stop the broadcast of the Indian channels as “India has been intruding in the national sovereignty of Nepal.”Unrest in Nepal’s Terai plains over the new Constitution has led to the blockade of Birgunj trade checkpoint with India, cutting off vital supplies. The country is reeling under scarcity of essential goods including petroleum products and cooking gas due to the blockade along the border areas.Normal life has been severely affected due to the growing tension in the border areas. Meanwhile, the cadres of agitating Madhes-based parties on Tuesday vandalised Nepal-bound vehicles which were stranded at Indian customs point.Three vehicles ferrying goods, including petroleum products, were vandalised at Ram Janaki Temple in Sunauli, the Indian town bordering Nepal this afternoon. Human rights activist Krishna Pahadi has sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying, “The blockade has damaged Nepal-India relations and also shattered Modi’s efforts to cement ties between the two neighbours.”Meanwhile, Bijaya Gachhadar, president of Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum Democratic, a moderate Madhesi party, after attending a meeting with the government officials claimed that the border blockade was not due to the agitating Madhesi cadres.A meeting was held between Chairman of Madhesi People’s Rights Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D) Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar and Terai Madhes Democratic Party Chairman Mahantha Thakur at latter’s residence at Sanothimi in the district on Tuesday.At least 40 people have died in over a month of clashes between police and protesters from the Madhesi and Tharu communities and ethnic minorities. The agitating Madhesi Front claims that the Constitution does not guarantee enough rights and representation to the Madhesi and Tharu communities. Madhesis are Indian-origin inhabitants of the Terai plains bordering India.

Live: PM Modi gets emotional as Zuckerberg asks about his mother

Sep 27, 2015


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After hosting the ‘Digital India’ dinner for top tech CEOs at San Jose, California in the US, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set for a townhall at Facebook on Sunday.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that he is looking forward to having a conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi about what connectivity means for India’s future at a townhall session.

“I’ll host Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a Townhall Q&A at Facebook HQ, where I’m looking forward to having a conversation about what connectivity means for India’s future,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post on Facebook.

Zuckerberg visited the United Nations headquarters yesterday where he participated in several sessions on the sidelines of the ongoing UN Sustainable Development Summit.

He and singer Bono visited an innovation space at the UN that Facebook and the world body partnered on to show the importance of connectivity in giving citizens a voice around the world.

“The space demonstrates the state of connectivity in every country and includes physical exhibits of projects, including our unmanned aircraft to beam down internet from the sky and our laser communication system for delivering high bandwidth internet,” he said.

Earlier in the day some of the prominent leaders who met the Prime Minister were John Chambers (Executive Chairman of Cisco Systems), Sundar Pichai (Google CEO), Satya Nadella (Microsoft CEO) and Paul Jacobs (Executive Chairman of Qualcomm).

Narendra Modi and Mark Zuckerberg.Narendra Modi and Mark Zuckerberg.

Narendra Modi and Mark Zuckerberg.

PM Modi on Saturday arrived in Silicon Valley with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship.

The trip to Silicon Valley forms part of Modi’s visit to the US’ west coast – the first by an Indian prime minister in more than three decades.

At the hotel lobby, the Prime Minister was warmly welcomed by Indian Americans raising pro-Modi slogans.

“With Prime Minister Narendra Modi in office, we have the opportunity to reinvigorate US-India relations and bring our partnership to new heights,” Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee said in a welcome statement as soon as Modi landed at San Jose Airport.

Royce and several other lawmakers would be attending Modi’s address to the Indian community on Monday night.

“Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley will undoubtedly bring the US and Indian tech sectors closer together, helping to deepen our strong and growing economic ties,” Royce said.

Earlier, Modi left New York after hosting a crucial G-4 summit on UN Security Council reforms to begin another crucial part of his US visit with a packed agenda of meetings with corporate honchos in Silicon Valley.

During his two-day stay in Silicon Valley, he would begin and conclude his engagements with the Indian-American community, the last one being an address to a crowd of over 18,500 Indian-Americans at the SAP Centre in San Jose.

Sandwiched between the two community events would be Modi’s visits to the campuses of Tesla Motors, Facebook and Google where he would hold meetings with the who’s who of Silicon Valley – ranging from Apple CEO Tim Cook to Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Sundar Pichai of Google, Shantanu Narayen of Adobe, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

The first-ever Indian prime minister to visit Silicon Valley after it became a global hub of innovation and entrepreneurship, Modi’s first engagement after the community dinner would be to drive down to the Tesla campus.

“Namaste California! PM @narendramodi arrives in San Jose, for a tech-startup-energy-diaspora-oriented weekend,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

“A warm Californian welcome. Members of the Indian diaspora greet PM @narendramodi at San Jose airport,” he said.

Modi would also meet members of the Sikh and Gujarati communities. On Monday morning, Modi will visit the headquarters of social network giant Facebook, where he will hold a town-hall meeting with Zuckerberg.

He will then head to Google, part of his strong push to drive technological innovation in India.

Modi will also have bilateral meetings with US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, California Governor Edmund Brown. He will also meet Salman Khan, the founder and CEO of Khan Academy, a free online education platform that produces thousands of video lessons on diverse subjects for students.

He will also attend a roundtable on renewable energy and an India-US start-up meet.

(With inputs from PTI)

FTII students call off relay hunger strike after government fixes date for talks

Pune: The agitating Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) students on Sunday called off their 18-day-old “hunger strike” in response to the government’s communication inviting them for a dialogue to resolve their demands at a meeting slated for September 29 in Mumbai.

Ranjit Nair, a representative of the FTII Students’ Association (FSA), which is protesting against appointment of actor Gajendra Chauhan as FTII Chairman, said the “hunger strike” is being called off to facilitate talks with the government.

A protest at FTII. Image: Naresh Sharma/FirstpostA protest at FTII. Image: Naresh Sharma/Firstpost

A protest at FTII. Image: Naresh Sharma/Firstpost

The students had on Saturday said they were ready to withdraw their hunger strike to pave the way for a dialogue if the Information and Broadcasting Ministry confirmed a date and venue for talks.

“The Information and Broadcasting Ministry Joint Secretary has replied to our letter (sent on Saturday stating that they were ready to withdraw hunger strike if the ministry fixed a date for a dialogue) and a meeting has been fixed on September 29 at Films Division in Mumbai,” he said.

Nair, however, clarified that although the relay hunger strike undertaken by the students in batches of three was being withdrawn, the general strike, that started on June 12 with a boycott of classes, will continue till the issues raised by them are resolved during the proposed talks.

A three-member delegation of the FSA will take part in the talks with the ministry officials in Mumbai, he added.

The FSA, backed by some film personalities and alumni, has questioned the credentials of Chauhan, best known for his portrayal of Yudhishthir in popular TV series Mahabharat, to head the city-based premier film training school.

The students are demanding his removal as Chairman of the government-run institute along with some other members from the FTII Society.


Somnath Bharti moves court seeking monitoring of probe in domestic violence case

New Delhi: Former Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti on Wednesday moved a city court seeking monitoring of probe in a domestic violence and attempt to murder case filed by his wife and sought cancellation of the non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against him.

Denying allegation that he had unleashed his dog on his wife Lipika, Bharti said he was ready to have the dog examined by the Investigating Officer(IO) or an expert.

In his petition, Bharti said “it is submitted that experts say that a family dog can never be forced against one family member by another. Further, the said dog was a Labrador, and Labradors by the very nature are peaceful animals.”

The plea was moved before Metropolitan Magistrate Manika, who had issued NBW against Bharti last Monday, would come up for hearing on 18 September.

File photo of Somnath Bharti. Image Credit: Facebook

File photo of Somnath Bharti. Image Credit: Facebook

In his application, Bharti has claimed that invocation of section 307 (attempt to murder) of IPC in the FIR was “politically motivated” to somehow arrest him and alleged that it was done under the dictates of the central government “which is disgruntled due to the recent loss in Delhi elections and is taking revenge by targeting (AAP) leaders.”

In the applications moved through advocate Vijay Aggarwal, Bharti said he has joined investigation on three occasions and also claimed that the police was prejudiced against him due to issuance of notice to Commissioner of Police in a separate matter which has “led to the malicious and vindictive conduct of the Commissioner in the case in order to frame and persecute him.”

It said that as he was the Chairman of the Privileges Committee of the State Assembly, Bharti was tasked to issue notice to the Police Commissioner for breach of privilege in a matter.

Seeking cancellation of the NBW issued against him, Bharti said it had no purpose as he was not absconding from the law.

The NBW was issued on an application moved by the Delhi Police which had contended that Bharti was not cooperating in the probe and had failed to appear for interrogation despite three summons issued to him.

Regarding allegations made by Lipika under section 313 IPC (causing miscarriage without woman’s consent) against Bharti that he had forced her to get an abortion done, Bharti claimed he was in possession of various audio conversations, which make it clear that the allegations are false.

“In the conversation, the Complainant (Lipika) herself told the Applicant (Bharti) that there is no need for the Applicant to accompany the complainant for the abortion. The copy of the CDs of the audio conversations between complainant and applicant falsify the allegations of commission of offence under section 313 IPC,” the plea said.

Lipika had filed a complaint of domestic violence with the Delhi Commission for Women on 10 June alleging that her husband had been abusing her since their marriage in 2010. She had also given a complaint to police in this regard.

The Delhi Police has registered an FIR against Bharti under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 498A(cruelty towards partner in marriage), 324(voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapon), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 313 read with 511 (attempt to cause miscarriage without woman’s consent), 420 (cheating) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC.


Now, two FTII students on hunger strike hospitalised

Pune: One more FTII student, who was on hunger strike against Gajendra Chauhan’s appointment as the Chairman of the prestigious institute, was on Saturday night admitted to a private hospital, taking the number of protesters hospitalised to two.

“Alok Arora was hospitalised tonight after he felt unwell with a drop in sugar level,” Rahat Jain, a students’ representative said.

Representational image. Naresh Sharma/FirstpostRepresentational image. Naresh Sharma/Firstpost

Representational image. Naresh Sharma/Firstpost

On Friday night, Hilal Savad, an electronic cinematography student was hospitalised on advice of the FTII doctors after his condition deteriorated.

Three students had started indefinite hunger strike on Thursday, intensifying the ongoing agitation against appointment of actor and BJP member as the FTII chairman.

The FTII administration after failing to dissuade them from going on hunger strike has appointed its medical personnel to monitor condition of the fasting students who are taken to a private hospital if necessary on doctors’ advice.

Meanwhile, noted actor Om Puri and documentary producer Arun Khopkar visited the protesting students, who have been boycotting classes since 12 June, to express their solidarity with them, according to the FTII Students’ Association (FSA).

Earlier, Abhijit Das, a contractual faculty member at the FTII had gone on a fast demanding resolution of the current impasse over Chauhan’s appointment. However, he ended it on September 8 after 66 hours of fasting due to health concerns.

Das, a faculty of art direction department, had started the fast on last Saturday demanding “immediate resolution” of the stalemate which has brought the academic activity to a halt since June.


Mumbai-bound train derails in Karnataka, 2 killed, over 8 injured

Kalburgi: At least two persons were killed and eight others injured when nine coaches of a Mumbai-bound train derailed near Kalburgi in Karnataka early on Saturday.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The incident took place at Martur village station, about 20 kilometres from Kalburgi. Two persons were killed and eight injured in the mishap, Amit Singh, Kalburgi Superintendent of Police, said.

“Two people died and eight others are injured after Mumbai-bound Lokmanya Tilak Express from Secunderabad derailed at Martur station,” he said.

Singh said nine coaches of the train derailed between 2 15 am to 2 20 am.

The rescue operations are on and the injured people have been rushed to Solapur Government Hospital in Maharashtra, Singh added.

An inquiry has been ordered by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu into the accident, Chairman Railway Board AK Mittal said.

The inquiry will be conducted by Commissioner Railway Safety (Central circle) to ascertain the exact cause of derailment, he said.

Railways has also announced ex-gratia relief of Rs two lakh to the next of kin of those killed, Rs 50,000 to each of the grievously injured, and Rs 25,000 to those with simple injuries, Mittal said.

“Rescue and relief operations are going on at the spot and medical teams have already reached and I am also rushing to the site to supervise,” Mittal said.

“Saddened by Duranto accident. Ordered enquiry. Immediate medical relief & other assistance rushed. Chairman Rail board asked to rush,” Prabhu tweeted while expressing grief over the accident.

Stating that all injured are being rushed to hospitals and are being treated by medical team, he said ex-gratia will be given to injured, and unfortunate families of dead.

Railways has operationalised helpline numbers which are Gulbarga 0847-2255066/2255067, Secunderabad 040-27700968, Solapur 0217-2313331, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus 022-22694040, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus 022-25280005, and Kalyan 0251-2311499.

Railways spokesperson Anil Saxena said the train has left for its onward journey and one line has been restored. Initially, both the lines were blocked due to the derailment but now one line has been made operational. No passenger was stranded.


Delhi CM Kejriwal writes to Lt Guv over alleged demolition of slums

In his three-page letter to Jung, who is the Chairman of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Kejriwal has also claimed that “more” such demolition actions by the urban body are in the offing.
File Photo
PTI photo
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has written to Lt Governor Najeeb Jung over DDA’s alleged demolition drive against ‘jhuggis’ in Mehrauli area in south Delhi, and claimed the action was “illegal and unconstitutional”.In his three-page letter to Jung, who is the Chairman of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Kejriwal has also claimed that “more” such demolition actions by the urban body are in the offing. According to the Chief Minister, DDA had on August 26 “demolished” around 40 jhuggis of people in Mehrauli area without any prior arrangement for their rehabilitation which allegedly led to “death” of an infant.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In 2014, Parliament had enacted ‘Delhi Special Provision Act 2014’ according to which encroachment structure which came up before January 1, 2006 cannot be demolished. There is also a provision in this law that demolition can be carried out in case there is encroachment upon roads or government urgently needs land for its projects.”Under the law, demolition can only be done if the concerned agency has made arrangements of rehabilitation. On August 26, DDA demolished shanties of people without arrangements of their rehabilitation,” Kejriwal said.Several telephone calls to DDA’s concerned senior officials went unanswered. Kejriwal said that as per Delhi government’s policy, shanties which came up before February 14, 2005 cannot be razed and the “demolition” carried out by the “DDA in Mehrauli area” is against the policy of government and the order of the Supreme Court.”I have got to know that in the coming days, you (Lt Governor) are going to get jhuggis demolished in more areas. I want to request you to stop this demolition,” he claimed in his letter.In the letter, the Delhi Chief Minister also alleged, “The demolition drive carried out by the development authority in Mehrauli is against the law, constitution and humanity.” Kejriwal added that he had a meeting with the then vice-chairman of DDA on May 2 this year wherein a government proposal was accepted.”Our proposal was that DDA gives us five years and during this period, government will provide pucca houses for those living in jhuggis. We also asked DDA not to bring down any jhuggis in five years. We also assured the development authority that if it needs land, it should inform us six months before,” he said.

Decoded: What is the Paul Muthoot murder case?

Post his murder, Paul Muthoot was painted as a rich guy who kept bad company, liked wild parties and ‘psychedelic mushrooms’.

Paul Muthoot (Image Credit – Paul Muthoot’s Twitter account)

The youngest son of Kerala business magnate George Muthoot, Paul Muthoot, was the Chairman of the Muthoot Group and CEO of Muthoot Finance. According to Forbes India, George Muthoot’s net worth is US$1.1 billion and his source of wealth is financial services.Post his murder, Paul Muthoot was painted as a rich guy who kept bad company, liked wild parties and ‘psychedelic mushrooms’.The fateful eveningOn the night of August 21, 2009, Paul Muthoot is said to have partied heavily at his resort in Chambakulam. There were two wanted men with him. The men had cases against them – Om Prakash, had a look out notice against him; Puthenpalam Rajesh, was a notified Known Depredator. It was when he was driving Rajesh’s SUV to a nearby resort when he was killed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The police state that Muthoot rammed into a motorcycle while driving recklessly. The assailants happened to see this and chased the SUV to confront him. When they caught him near Nedumudy, they got into an altercation with him. The accused Kari Satheesh allegedly stabbed him to death.Rajesh and Prakash had been following Muthoot and rushed him to the Alapuzzha Medical College. He was pronounced dead.Murder ControversyWhen 32-year-old Paul Muthoot was killed, there were numerous theories that emerged. Some alleged that his murder was a political conspiracy while others alleged that it was personal vendetta. The Kerala police have stated that it is a road rage incident and Paul Muthoot was stabbed to death as a result of that.Related read: Paul Muthoot murder: CBI court pronounces life term for nine accused

Law Commission recommends abolition of death penalty except in terror cases

New Delhi: The Law Commission on Monday recommended by a majority “swift” abolition of death penalty except in terror-related cases, noting it does not serve the penological goal of deterrence any more than life imprisonment.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The recommendation by the 9-member panel was, however, not unanimous, with one full-time member and two government representatives dissenting and supporting retention of capital punishment.

In its last report, the 20th Law Commission said there is a need to debate as to how to bring about the “abolition of death penalty in all respects in the very near future, soonest.”

The panel, while refusing to recommend any single model for abolishing death penalty, said “the options are many – from moratorium to a full-fledged abolition bill. The Law Commission does not wish to commit to a particular approach in abolition. All it says is that such a method for abolition should be compatible with the fundamental value of achieving swift and irreversible, absolute abolition.”

While supporting death for those convicted in terror cases and for waging war against the country, the report, ‘The death Penalty’ said that although there is no valid penological justification for treating terrorism differently from other crimes, concern is often raised that abolition of capital punishment for terror-related offences and waging war will affect national security.

The panel also questioned the “rarest of rare” doctrine in awarding death to convicts.

“After many lengthy and detailed deliberations, it is the view of the Law Commission that the administration of death penalty even within the restrictive environment of ‘rarest of rare’ doctrine is constitutionally unsustainable.

“Continued administration of death penalty asks very difficult constitutional questions…these questions relate to the miscarriage of justice, errors, as well as the plight of the poor and disenfranchised in the criminal justice system,” the report said.

One of three full-time members Justice (retd) Usha Mehra and both the ex-officio members – Law secretary PK Malhotra and Legislative Secretary Sanjay Singh gave their dissenting notes.

The Law Commission comprises a Chairman, three full-time members, two ex-officio members who represent the government, and three part-time members.

Justice Mehra said, “Recommending blanket abolition of death sentence or moratorium on death penalty in heinous crimes is not an appropriate course particularly keeping in view the circumstances prevailing in our country.”

Registering his dissent, Law Secretary Malhotra said Parliament in its wisdom has prescribed death penalty only in heinous crimes. “The need of the hour is to retain it…We have a vibrant judiciary which is respected world-over. We should have faith in the wisdom of our judges that they will exercise this power only in deserving cases for which the law is well laid down in various judgments…”

Legislative Secretary Sanjay Singh maintained the panel should not recommend something which has the effect of preventing the state from making any law in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of the country.

Asked whether the dissent by the two government nominees will have a bearing on the government’s decision on the issue when it examines the recommendations, Commission Chairman Justice (Retd) A P Shah said the report has been prepared to enable a debate on the subject when two private members’ bills – one on moratorium and another on abolition of death sentence – are moved in Parliament.

“It is not meant for immediate implementation,” he said.

While supporting abolition of capital punishment, the panel said in the last decade, the Supreme Court has on numerous occasions expressed concern over arbitrary handing down of death sentence.

“The Court has noted that it is difficult to distinguish cases where death penalty has been imposed from those where the alternative of life imprisonment has been applied.”

Dwelling on the issue of clemency, the report said the exercise of mercy powers under Articles 72 and 161 of the Constitution “have failed in acting as the final safeguard against miscarriage of justice in the imposition of the death sentence.”

It said the apex court has repeatedly pointed out gaps and illegalities in how the executive has discharged its mercy powers. “When even exercise of mercy powers is sometimes vitiated by gross procedural violations and non-application of mind, capital punishment becomes indefensible.

“Safeguards in the law have failed in providing a constitutionally secure environment for administration of this irrevocable punishment,” the report said.

Quoting data available from a variety of sources, the report said between 26 January, 1950 and till Monday, successive Presidents have accepted 306 mercy petitions and rejected 131.

Referring to victims of crimes, the panel said in focusing on death penalty “as the ultimate measure of justice to victims”, the restorative and rehabilitative aspects of justice are lost sight of.

It said reliance on the death penalty diverts attention from other problems ailing the criminal justice system such as poor investigation, crime prevention and rights of victims of crime. It is essential that the state establish effective compensation schemes to rehabilitate victims of crime.

At the same time, it is also essential that courts use the power granted to them under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to grant appropriate compensation to victims in suitable cases.

“The voices of victims and witnesses are often silenced by threats and other coercive techniques employed by powerful accused persons. Hence it is essential that a witness protection scheme also be established. The need for police reforms for better and more effective investigation and prosecution has also been universally felt for some time now and measures regarding the same need to be taken on a priority basis,” the report said.


Water tanker scam: Delhi Jal Board Chairman recommends FIR against Sheila Dikshit, says sources

In 2012, Delhi Jal Board procured tankers to supply water in areas which receive less water

Sheila dikshit

Delhi Jal Board Chairman Kapil Mishra has recommended FIR against Sheila Dikshit in a 400 crore rupees water tanker scam, as per the sources.Kapil Mishra is the Water Minister of Delhi. In 2012, Delhi Jal Board procured tankers to supply water in areas which receive less water. Then Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit was in charge of the operations at Delhi Jal Board at that time. Further details are awaited in this case . With ANI inputs

BARC to turn sole TV audience measurement company with TAM meters in tow

The meter company will have the meter assets and panel management operations of the present BARC India and TAM India panels,which will be jointly owned by BARC India, Nielsen and Kantar with management control resting with BARC India.

dna Research & Archives
BARC India, the television rating company formed by broadcasters, advertising agencies and advertisers and TAM India, the television audience measurement joint venture between Nielsen and Kantar Medai, have announced the formation of a new meter management company. This will run the meter operations and will supply raw data to BARC India. Meters will be deployed based on BARC’s sample design and the ratings will be computed and disseminated through BARC India’s software. This ratings data will be the sole trading currency for the country, giving advertisers, broadcasters and agencies accurate and quality measurement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Commenting on the development, Punit Goenka, Chairman of BARC India said, “This partnership is a big step forward and in this era of cooperation, we welcome this move forward as a joint industry body. The technology and methodological prowess of BARC, combined with the extra meters and the field force will definitely help the industry progress.”“This new venture represents our organisation’s commitment to providing precise and stable data around the world, and draws strengths from both BARC India and TAM India,” commented Steve Hasker, Global President, Nielsen. “We look forward to the great coverage and representation this new partnership will deliver.”Eric Salama, CEO of Kantar said: “We are happy to cooperate with BARC India to be able to provide clarity and a large single sample for the industry and to keep India as a key market for us.”The meter company will have the meter assets and panel management operations of the present BARC India and TAM India panels,which will be jointly owned by BARC India, Nielsen and Kantar with management control resting with BARC India. To start with, the company will have 34,000 meters covering all of India,and will supply raw data to BARC, which will use its own statistical processes and sampling design.The details of the formation and roll out of this new company will be shared in the coming weeks.TAM India will continue to provide its non-TV ratings services to the market, notably AdEx – Advertising Expenditure for TV, Print, Radio, RAM – Radio Audience Measurement, Eikona – PR Audit, TAM Sports Measurement and S-Group Consulting.In Arrangement with

Centre evaded talks with Pakistan on Kashmir: Hurriyat Conference

Terming the Kashmir dispute as the “core issue” between the two countries, Hurriyat said it was the main reason for the “huge trust deficit” between the two countries.

Mirwaiz umar farooq

Moderate Hurriyat Conference on Wednesday accused the Centre of “evading” the NSA-level talks with Pakistan by refusing to discuss Kashmir, an issue it described as the main reason for the “huge trust deficit” between the two countries.”India’s attempt to evade talks on Kashmir issue was extremely unfortunate, imprudent and contrary to the historical, political and ground realities of Jammu and Kashmir,” the Hurriyat said in a statement after its meeting at the residence of Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in Srinagar. Terming the Kashmir dispute as the “core issue” between the two countries, Hurriyat said it was the main reason for the “huge trust deficit” between the two countries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It said little progress could be made towards normalisation of bilateral ties and resolution of other issues till the Kashmir issue was resolved, “taking the aspirations of the people of state into consideration.” The separatist conglomerate said, “The Kashmir dispute has always been the focal point of any discussion between the two countries and the Kashmir leadership since 1947.”From Tashkent to Ufa, countless deliberations have been held between them to move towards the resolution of the dispute. Besides, the issue stands alive at the United Nations where many resolutions have been passed in this connection and several rounds of talks held,” the statement said.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani continues to be under house arrest ahead of Sartaj Aziz’s visit

Kashmiri separatist leaser Shabbir Shah, who was taken under house arrest on Thursday and released on the same day, was again put under detention in New Delhi.

Security personnel were deployed outside the Hydrepora residence of Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Although Kashmiri separatists leaders put on house arrest were released on Thursday, Hurriyat Chairman Syed Ali Shah continues to be under detention. In a press note released on Friday on their official Facebook page, All Parties Hurriyat Conference said, “Chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Geelani continued to remain under house arrest today and he was again forcibly stopped from offering the Friday congregational prayers by the police and he was not allowed to come out of his house.”Top Kashmiri separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, were on Thursday put under house arrest. Security personnel were deployed outside the Hydrepora residence of Geelani. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The separatist leaders were invited by the Pakistan High Commission to meet Pakistan’s Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz on August 23. India had cancelled Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan in August last year after its envoy invited separatist leaders for consultations ahead of the meeting in Islamabad.As soon as separatist leader Shabbir Shah deplaned in New Delhi, central security agencies along with Delhi Police asked him about the place where he would be staying in Delhi and later drove him there. The separatist leaders were told that “restrictions have been imposed on their movement in the national capital” ahead of talks between Aziz and his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval, official sources said. Shah along with two other separatist leaders Mohammed Abdullah Tari and Zamir Ahmed Sheikh will stay in a south Delhi guest house and the trio will remain confined to that place only. Shah, who parted ways with moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference last year and formed a separate unit, was placed under house arrest yesterday and not allowed to go for Friday prayers.While India advised Pakistan on Friday not to go ahead with its meeting with the separatists, Pakistan said that it won’t accept India’s advice .”Responding to the Government of India’s advice, conveyed by their High Commissioner that Sartaj Aziz may not meet Hurriyat leaders during his visit to India, Foreign Secretary conveyed to the Indian High Commissioner that it would not be possible for Pakistan to accept this advice. Pakistani leadership has always interacted with the Kashmir/Hurriyat leadership, during their visits to India. Pakistan sees no reason to depart from this established past practice,” Pak MoFA said. “The Hurriyat leaders are true representatives of the Kashmiri people of the Indian occupied Kashmir. Pakistan regards them (Hurriyat leaders) as genuine stakeholders in the efforts to find a lasting solution of the Kashmir Dispute. Pakistan has proposed and conveyed to India a comprehensive agenda reflecting broad understanding reached between the leaders in Ufa, that all outstanding issues, including Kashmir, other disputes, terrorism and other CBMs will be discussed between the two countries,” MoFA added.Addressing a press conference on Saturday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj gave an ultimatum to Pakistan and said that if Pakistan chooses to go ahead with the meeting, then the talks will be called off. She gave Pakistan time till midnight to decide. Here is the press note released by All Parties Hurriyat Conference. Press NoteSrinagar21\: Chairman All Parties Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Geelani continued to remain under house…
Posted by All Parties Hurriyat Conference on Friday, August 21, 2015

FTII students should meet Gajendra Chuahan to break logjam, says Shyam Benegal

“The institute has functional autonomy under the FTII director. The GC meets every quarter and the chairman presides over in all six meetings including that of the society. Chairman, along with the GC and the Society, discuss the allocation of funds, future road maps and other expansion plans. So what’s bothering the students so much, I am unable to understand,” Benegal said.

As the FTII row rages on, noted filmmaker Shyam Benegal feels that the ball is in the students’ court. “I think they should meet him (Gajendra Chauhan), talk to him, understand his plans, and if they find that he is trying to impose his ideology, then they can protest. At this point in time, they should not get provoked by opinion makers as it is they themselves who would lose in terms of studies and training,” he said.Following the uproar created by the arrest of five FTII students on Thursday morning, a three-member team of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, headed by Registrar of Newspapers SM Khan, will meet the students, faculty and the director of the institute on Friday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Benegal feels that it was not correct for students to conclude that Chauhan was not capable of leading the institute without knowing his plans. “The best way for students to find out his credentials, is to have a meeting and dialogue with Chauhan rather than depend on what people are saying. There is no point in politicising the issue further,” he suggested. Under the Indian Constitution, anyone can have a political affiliation as per his liking, hence singling out Chauhan saying he was appointed because of his affiliation does not cut much ice, Benegal said. “FTII students are not kids, hence they can reject any imposition of ideology. Is it so easy to brainwash an FTII student? No one made or studied films under any pressure. This may not happen even in a totalitarian regime. There is enough choice to do their own thing. Moreover, teachers, who have always had a good rapport with the students, are the ones who train them in the discipline. How can anyone impose their ideology on the students?”Every party tries to bring its people so there was nothing new as far as media bodies were concerned, he cited. “For students, the teachers should be good. Chairman of FTII is always nominated by the government. Though he heads the autonomous FTII society and the governing council (GC), the institute has functional autonomy under the FTII director. The GC meets every quarter and the chairman presides over in all six meetings including that of the society. Chairman, along with the GC and the Society, discuss the allocation of funds, future road maps and other expansion plans. So what’s bothering the students so much, I am unable to understand,” Benegal said.Recalling how he was gheraoed a whole night by students when he was the chairman of FTII , he says, “I told the students that I am ready to talk to them but I did not call the police. The next day at 11.00 am we resolved whatever the issues were. The FTII management should treat the students with maturity. The ones coming to study at FTII are not frivolous. They are adults who have come to do professional courses. The police stepping in to the whole affair was unwarranted. I think that was an overreaction and students need to be understood properly. FTII management should not pamper the students but they need to be respected. I personally think arresting the students was not a good precedent either”. Meanwhile, a top source from the I&B Ministry says the government will not budge in its appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as they consider it their prerogative to do so. All appointments done by the Ministry for media bodies were largely out of political affiliations and there is nothing new about this, he said. The source said that while filmmakers and intellectuals have suddenly become very active in pointing out that the appointment, the chairman and the committee members had political leanings even in the earlier Congress regimes. He added that the students will be the losers as many of the past students had not even bothered to complete their assessments, showing that all has not been well with the institute for the past several years.

OROP protest: Ex-Servicemen to boycott 1965-war anniversary celebrations

As their agitation entered the fast-unto-death phase after two months of relay hunger strike, the veterans demanding One Rank One Pension (OROP) on voiced their dismay over the Centre’s “inability” and decided to boycott the upcoming celebrations of 1965-war golden jubilee.

OROP protest

PTI photo
As their agitation entered the fast-unto-death phase after two months of relay hunger strike, the veterans demanding One Rank One Pension (OROP) on voiced their dismay over the Centre’s “inability” and decided to boycott the upcoming celebrations of 1965-war golden jubilee.63-year-old Colonel Pushpinder Singh (Retd), one of the two who has launched fast-unto-death said, “We thought Prime Minister may announce at least a date from his speech. But now we are demoralised and it is a huge setback that he didn’t say anything. We are sitting on an indefinite hunger strike from today and it will continue till the OROP is accepted.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid sloganeering and songs, Colonel Ishwar Verma (Retd) said, “This movement is not restricted to the soldiers but to the nation. Politicians recognise only vote rest they are completely blind. This movement should be taken toBihar and the people should be told what this government is doing.”The protesters have now decided to boycott all the government programmes including the 50th anniversary of 1965 war with Pakistan, which the government is planning to celebrate on August 28.”We will boycott all the government programmes including 50th anniversary of 1965 war. This is the 64th day of our protest but government is not listening to us,” Major General Satbir Singh (Retd), Chairman of Indian Ex-servicemen Movement said.”The black flags are being hoisted in house of every jawan all across the country from today. We have taken this movement online with Mission OROP plus page on twitter and every 35 seconds more and more people are connecting with us,” Singh added.

Dr. Chandra Show: Importance of emotions

Dr. Chandra discusses about degenerating moral values in today’s generation.

Dr. Subhash Chandra
File Photo

Chairman of Essel Group and ZEE Dr Subhash Chandra addressed from Management Development Institute, Gurgaon for the upcoming episode of Dr. Subhash Chandra Show. Dr Chandra, in this particular episode discusses about degenerating moral values in today’s generation.Talking to the students Dr. Chandra said that it is only when you develop love, empathy and knowledge that you achieve a higher moral ground laying emphasis on the importance of having the right information, right understanding and right Experience.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Commenting on the importance of emotions, Dr Chandra said that they play a crucial role in connecting us with the truth. He said that emotions can vary in extremes, “Emotions can be sensual and they can also be sublime. They can be personal and also impersonal. Preferential to universal emotions.”He said that if our emotions are selfless, universal and sublime, they can become our strength otherwise they play a part in being our weakness. He further said, ” Emotions are like medicine and if they are taken in the right amount and dose, it will cure you and better the world. However, if you take the medicine without administration ou feel helplessness.”Watch the full episode here :The Dr Subhash Chandra airs on Saturday at 10 pm on Zee News and 7pm on Zee Business and with a repeat telecast on Sundays at 11 am on both Zee News and Zee Business. The show will also be aired on other channels of Zee Media.

Independence Day speech: PM Modi assures OROP but gives no implementation time frame

New Delhi: Much to the disappointment of protesting ex-servicemen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not give a specific timeline for the implementation of ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) in his Independence Day address, even as he stressed that talks were in final stages to work out the nitty-gritty.

He reiterated that the government has in-principle accepted the demand for OROP.

Terming the soldiers as a strength, treasure and energy of the country, Modi accepted that despite his coming to power, the solution for the long-delayed OROP issue has not been found yet.

PM Modi during his Independence Day address. PIBPM Modi during his Independence Day address. PIB

PM Modi during his Independence Day address. PIB

Pointing out that many governments have come and gone for years and the OROP issue came before each one of them, Modi said the OROP has been in-principle accepted by his government but talk are still on with various stakeholders.

“Every government has even given small promises but the issue has not been resolved. Even after I came, I have not been able to do it till now. Today, I am assuring my soldiers once again… in-principle OROP has been accepted by us but talks with stakeholders are on,” he said in his Independence Day address.

Modi stressed, it was not just him promising but the 1.25 crore people strong ‘Team India’ under the shadow of the tricolour, from the ramparts of the Lal Qila.

He said that the issue has reached the last stages and the aim is complete development of country and justice to all.

“A solution has to be found for an issue which has been lingering for 20-25 years. I expect good news seeing the way the talks are going on. And that is why I again promise that in-principle, this government has accepted OROP,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that talks are being held with the stakeholders to work out the nitty-gritty and modalities. “We have to move forward by talking,” he said.

However, the protesting ex-servicemen reacted sharply.

“I am sorry, principle was accepted 17 months ago and he has also accepted it. I want to ask the Prime Minister, what is holding the implementation of OROP,” questioned Maj Gen Satbir Singh (Retd), Chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen movement.

“According to us, there is nothing but bad intention of the bureaucracy and it is given to them by the political system which is holding it now,” Singh said.

Asked what will be the next course of action as they have been protesting for over two months, he said, “Our core committee will sit and decide”.

The protesters had put up a large LCD screen at Jantar Mantar to watch Modi’s speech. However, as soon as they realised that Modi has not announced OROP, they switched it off.

“I am ashamed of the PM. We want the OROP without any dilution. What talks, when and how long. Where is Gen VK Singh, where is CoL Rathore? Why haven’t they resigned?,” said Deepa Neb, daughter and wife of a retired defence personnel.

“Time and again, Modi has been saying Team India, actually Team India today has failed the real Team India. Are we not part of Team India,” a retired Brigadier asked.


Chairman of Hero Cycles OP Munjal passes away at 87

Munjal was facing health issues for the past few months. He breathed his last in the DMC Hero Heart Centre

Hero Group Logo

Image Courtesy: Twitter
Industrialist OP Munjal, Chairman Emeritus of Hero Cycles and one of the founders of the Hero Group, passed away on Thursday after brief illness. Munjal (87) breathed his last in the DMC Hero Heart Centre, his family said, adding the last rites will be performed on Friday.Faced with health related issues for the past few months, Munjal had retired from active role in the business in July and his son Pankaj Munjal succeeded him as the Chairman and Managing Director of the Hero Motors group.Munjal along with his three brothers Brijmohan Lall Munjal, Dayanand Munjal and Satyanand Munjal started bicycle spare parts business in Amritsar in 1944. Subsequently, they moved their base to Ludhiana naming the company ‘Hero’ and set up India’s first bicycle manufacturing unit in 1956.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During the eighties Hero Cycles became the largest bicycle manufacturer by volume in the world. Munjal, who led Hero Cycles for almost 60 years, also helped the company in diversifying to other businesses such as auto parts manufacturing and hospitality.Under his leadership, the company grew from a bicycle maker to a Rs 3000-crore industrial house. He also served as the president of All India Cycle Manufacturers’ Association. A recipient of many national honours, Munjal was also known as a philanthropist. He supported several educational institutions and hospitals across India.He is survived by a son, four daughters and 10 grandchildren.

Dr Subhash Chandra talks about the importance of moral values in a human’s life

Dr. Subhash Chandra (DSC) Show is aired every Saturday at 10 pm on Zee News and 7 pm on Zee Business.
File Photo

The Chairman of Essel Group and ZEE reached spoke with the students at Management Development Institute in Gurgaon. Dr Chandra, in his latest episode of Dr Subhash Chandra show, talks about degenerating moral values and on the true meaning of life with the students.Talking to students about moral values, Dr Chandra said that, “Moral values are what keeps your values intact even in adverse situations.”He further said that moral values are build based on ‘codes of living’. Some codes of living are made by ourselves, some are told to us by the society. And some codes of living are learnt from teaching or from our books of faith. He also advised the students not to be judgemental. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Being judgemental is in the nature of human beings. But when we do not know the reality, we should stay away from judging anything or anyone,” he said. Talking about a human mind, Dr Chandra said, “Our mind remains in one of these three states at a time: Restless, Imperfect or Perfect. The mind is either restless, indecisive, or it is imperfect where it keeps thinking of the present or the future, or it is in a perfect state, where it is calm and at peace.”Watch this and more:The session was organised as part of the episodes of the Dr. Subhash Chandra Show. Dr. Subhash Chandra (DSC) Show is aired every Saturday at 10 pm on Zee News and 7 pm on Zee Business with a repeat telecast on Sundays at 11 am on Zee News and Zee Business. This show is also aired on other channels of Zee Media.

All govt schools in Delhi to get water connections by October 2

All government schools in the national capital will get high quality water connections by October 2.

Representational Image

All government schools in the national capital will get high quality water connections by October 2.Delhi Jal Board (DJB) Chairman Kapil Mishra has directed officials to ensure quality water connections are provided to at all government schools by October 2 as a mark of respect to the the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi.According to senior officials, there are many schools which lack basic facilities including water connection. Officials claim that the Department of Education has been asked to prepare and submit a list of the schools without water connections.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Education department will make an elaborate list of requirement and list of the schools will be shared with Delhi Jal Board and PWD by August 16 for execution of work. DJB will expedite the process after the list is submitted,” a senior official said. Government claims this move is a step towards making government schools at par with private ones.”We have to provide the fundamental right to water to all our school children along with the Right to Education. DJB will ensure that our children’s lives are improved by the government. I have asked a similar list from all MCD schools as well so that no child suffers on account of water scarcity or poor sanitation in Delhi,” Mishra said.According to an official, a report by Pune-based non-profit organisation Pratham had pointed out that 6.7 per cent of children in Delhi drop out of school. The issue of out-of-school children is concentrated in pockets, with more than 25 per cent children out of school in some localities. Further, there are problems of electricity and water in each and every school.”It is necessary for the government to ensure that basic infrastructure, services and amenities are provided to every school. Government is committed towards state provision of equitable access to quality education to every child in Delhi,” official said.

Patna High Court judge accuses Chief Justice of acting like ‘Moghal Baadshah’

Judge of Patna High Court refused to attend the retirement farewell party of Chief Justice because he has “no respect for the rules”

The Patna High Court is in controversy after L Narasimha Reddy retired as Chief Justice on July 31 and a judge refused to attend his farewell party. According to report in the Indian Express, Reddy who had held the position Chief Justice for seven months, was accused of being a ‘Moghal Baadshah’ by Justice Dharnidhar Jha. Jha then refused to attend the retirement farewell function. Jha addressed a four-page letter to Akhauri Mangla Charan Shrivastava, Chairman of the Bihar State Bar Council, saying the Chief Justice didn’t deserve his participation in the farewell function held on August 1.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also accused Chief Justice Reddy of having “no respect for the rules”. He also said Reddy “smashed the whole administration not only of the HC but of the subordinate judiciary also.” He also said that under Justice Reddy several sub-divisional courts had been set up “without there being any infrastructure.” He told the newspaper that writing a letter was the only way he could show his displeasure as the media did not criticise the judiciary for fear of contempt of court. “As Chief Justice, Justice Reddy took many decisions against rules settled by the Supreme Court. He acted in great haste and even passed judicial orders against rules,” he added.Justice Reddy responded to the letter criticising him. He spoke to Indiann Express and said “This gentleman has a very dubious track record. He was transferred due to serious allegations against him. He managed to return after citing ill health. Until I was there, he never uttered a single word to question my decisions, all of which were taken in full court meetings. And now he has written some letter that I have not seen. This is gross misconduct as he is levelling baseless allegations.” Justice Jha is set to retire next month.

Amid hardening stands hopes of reviving session fade

With the suspension of Congress members ending on Friday, all eyes are on the last week of the monsoon session beginning Monday, amidst hopes of reviving the session and passing key economic bills — Goods and Services Tax (GST), land acquisition and real estate — diminishing.The Congress is all set to harden its stand in Parliament, as the BJP on Thursday launched an onslaught against the party in Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and outside Parliament.While in Lok Sabha, BJP members submitted a privilege motion against Youth Congress leaders for demonstrating outside the residence of Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, 30 Rajya Sabha members of NDA have sent a letter to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari seeking action against Congress members who were disrupting the House.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In Lok Sabha, where the ruling side is in a majority, the Speaker had suspended 25 Congress MPs, but in Rajya Sabha the Opposition outnumbers the BJP-led NDA. BJP sources said the petition to the Chairman was more of political posturing to register the treasury’s protest against the disruption.The GST is pending in Rajya Sabha, where the NDA’s numerical disadvantage has come in the way of passage of bills. The government was keen on getting the GST passed to ensure that the rollout timeline did not get disturbed.The government is now mulling various options to overcome the hurdle of being in a minority in Rajya Sabha in future. Sources said the government would consider converting legislations into money bills, for which it was not mandatory to get the approval of the Upper House. They said though there was no immediate plan, this could be an option before the government if the Opposition persisted with its resistance.Though the money bill route cannot be applies to the GST, a constitution amendment bill, most other legislations can be made money bills, the sources said. The government had made the black money bill a money bill for its smooth passage in Parliament.Though government is waiting to see what strategy the Congress would adopt when it returns to the House on Monday, floor managers seem to have reconciled to the washout of the session. Sources said the government had conveyed to the Congress that its demand for resignations, which had stalled Parliament, would not be accepted.The government’s tactics to drive a wedge in the Opposition also weakened after the suspension. However, the government tried to reach out to non-congress opposition parties. Finance minister Arun Jaitley met NCP leader Sharad Pawar, sources said.The Congress, meanwhile, is getting more belligerent inside and outside the House. The Congress has even shifted out its press conferences from Parliament to the party headquarters.Countering the BJP’s charge, the Congress blamed the Prime Minister and the government for disruption. “The Prime Minister is complicit by his silence, is endorsing the acts of omission and commission. It is the arrogance and the obduracy which has caused the logjam in the Parliament and it is very clear that Shri Narendra Modi and his Government feel that they are beyond Parliamentary accountability and the laws of the country,” Congress leader Anand Sharma said.He made it clear that the Congress would persist with its “resignations first, then debate” position. On Congress joining discussion in the Parliament on the statement of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj in Lok Sabha, Sharma said the Prime Minister has to inform us as to what action he proposes to take and the discussions will follow.On BJP MPs submitting a notice for a privilege motion against Youth Congress Leaders, he said “protest is basic and fundamental right in a democracy….. If 25 MPs are not able to represent their constituencies which lead to a collective boycott by the opposition, there is a concern and there is a protest…..If the protestors had said anything against the Parliament of India, anything against the Speaker. To demonstrate against a decision and that too outside the precincts of Parliament, that is a different issue altogether.”

Lokpal Bill amendment: Panel seeks views from political parties

The amendment Lokpal Bill, which is under consideration of a 31-member Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, headed by Congress MP EM Sudarsana Natchiappan, seeks to exempt government employees to give details of assets of their spouse and dependent children.


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A Parliamentary Committee examining Lokpal amendment bill has sought views from all recognised political parties on exclusion of assets detail of a government employee’s spouse and dependent children in mandatory property declarations filed by him. As per rules notified under the Lokpal Act, every public servant shall file declaration pertaining to his assets and liabilities, including that of his spouse and children, as on March 31 every year or on or before July 31 of that year.The amendment Lokpal Bill, which is under consideration of a 31-member Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, headed by Congress MP EM Sudarsana Natchiappan, seeks to exempt government employees to give such details of their spouse and dependent children. “We are sending letters to all recognised political parties to give their opinion on amendment of Section 44 of Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. They have been asked to give reply by August 14,” Natchiappan said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The provision deals with declaration of assets and liabilities by a public servant. The political parties have been asked to depute any of their office bearers for further input before the panel which is scheduled to meet on August 18, he said.The panel had earlier sought more time from Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari for completion of its work. “”We are awaiting for extension of time for submitting the report from the Chairman’s office,” Natchiappan said The amendment bill was was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 18 last year. It was then referred to the Committee on December 22, last year which was asked to submit its report by March 25, this year. The panel had sought extension, which ended on July 30, to complete the task.Bureaucrats have been demanding exemption from filing assets details of their spouse and dependent children. “Our main objection is that such information, which will be made public under the provisions of the Act, may pose security threat to their family members and prone to misuse,” a senior government official said.As per the Lokpal Act, competent authority in respect of each ministry or department shall ensure that all such statements filed by bureaucrats are published on their respective website by August 31, of every year. The amendment bill also seeks to prohibit such public disclosure of assets. A provision where the competent authority shall, in public interest, ensure that the information is published in such manner as may be prescribed, has been incorporated in it.The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act provides for establishment of an anti-corruption watchdog Lokpal for the Union and Lokayuktas for the states to inquire into graft charges against public functionaries. The amendments in the Act include the one for allowing the leader of the largest Opposition party in Lok Sabha, in the event there is no Leader of Opposition in the House, to be present on the selection panel for appointment of the chairperson and members of Lokpal.The Lokpal selection committee headed by the Prime Minister has as its members the Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of the Opposition in the Lower House, the Chief Justice of India or a judge of the apex court nominated by him, and an eminent jurist who could be nominated by the President or any other member.

Parliamentary logjam holding up GST, other key bills: CII

Godrej Group Chairman Adi Godrej said that GST Bill must be passed in this Parliamentary session if the vital tax reform is to be introduced by April 1, 2016.
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Continued logjam in Parliament is delaying passage of key Bills like GST, which are crucial for economic growth, industry body CII said on Tuesday.”Industry is keen to undertake the next cycle of investments as soon as the economic reforms process kicks in. With several crucial economic bills getting delayed, investment deceleration is plaguing the economy. Core sector growth has slowed down, the industrial production index remains volatile and bank credit is locked up. Parliament holds the key to unlocking the investment pipeline and CII urges taking up the necessary bills,” CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Commenting on the stalemate in Parliament, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday that there were many issues like floods and agricultural issues which Rajya Sabha members wanted to raise. Bills like GST also needed to be discussed and passed, he said.”Industry expects that our leaders would seize the window of opportunity for the country for expediting growth, which is so important in this stage of India’s development,” former CII president Ajay Shriram said. CII President Sumit Mazumder said key Bills including GST, the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, etc. are pending in Parliament.”We would sincerely wish that attention can be devoted to these and other important economic issues. The pace of reform that we have seen in the last two sessions of Parliament should have continued unabated in this session too. This is imperative for the economy. It is critical to be able to be on a steady and certain pace of reforms, including the ones, which need legislative intervention,” he said.Godrej Group Chairman Adi Godrej said that GST Bill must be passed in this Parliamentary session if the vital tax reform is to be introduced by April 1, 2016.”The GST is one of the most critical reforms for India as it will create a smooth and efficient market, lower costs and raise tax revenues. We believe it would add as much as 2 percentage points to the rate of growth, which will help generate millions of new jobs. But for this, the Parliament must transact business,” Godrej said.

Voices of protests from FTII find echo among Delhi youth

Intensifying their stir, over 80 students of the prestigious Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) held a demonstration at the Jantar Mantar, taking the protest to the national capital.

Students shout slogans as they agitate for the removal of the FTII Chairman Gajendra Chauhan at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Monday.

PTI photo
Voices of protests raised by a group of FTII students in New Delhi on Monday against appointment of TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as the institute’s Chairman, found an echo among a section of the youth of the national capital. Students from colleges and institutions across the national capital came together, in solidarity, as they performed a medley of songs of resistance, did plays and rent the air with vociferous slogans against the BJP government.Intensifying their stir, over 80 students of the prestigious Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) held a demonstration at the Jantar Mantar, taking the protest to the national capital. However, the support of Congress’ students wing NSUI, put many FTII protesters at unease. A number of them were trying to “distance” themselves from officially accepting their backing. Later they marched towards the Parliament wielding colourful graffiti and posters and placards bearing messages such as ‘Go Back Chauhan’, ‘John, Ghatak, Tarkovsky, We shall fight, We shall win’, before being stopped by a large posse of police personnel.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This fight is not against any individual but against an ideology. The long-term goal would be stop the saffronisation process. They are fighting for the long-term goal. The urgency is to fight against the saffronisation,” Inakshi Walia, a student of Delhi School of Social Work said.A FTII student sounded his exasperation with the “silence” of the government, saying, resuming classes would “not be a wise step” to do as they needed a long-term solution.”After meeting (Arun) Jaitley in July we have drafted five letters officially but they have not responded to any of them and instead made allegations of substance abuse and branded us Naxals,” Ritvic Goswami, a second year student at the institute said.Congress, which has been backing the demands of the students, sent its Rajya Sabha MP Raj Babbar as its emissary to the Jantar Mantar while JD(U) MP K C Tyagi trooped in with a joint statement, announcing the support of Congress’ Rajeev Shukla, CPI(M)’s Mohammed Salim, CPI’s D Raja and NCP’s D P Tripathi.”The students have not come here to fight. They are here to make their voice heard to the government which is pretending not to hear anything. The students have made us proud by spurning all backdoor offers,” Babbar said addressing the protesters.Noted documentary filmmaker Sanjay Kak, who was present during the protests, said the government was “miscalculating” the level of outrage.”The government is miscalculating the level of outrage at what is being done to all cultural institutions. The more they stretch it out the broader goal is being achieved,” he said.

FTII student delegation meets I&B officials; no breakthrough achieved

A delegation of FTII students protesting against the appointment of TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as its Chairman, on Monday met senior officials of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, though no breakthrough was achieved in the ongoing logjam.

FTII protest

PTI photo
A delegation of FTII students protesting against the appointment of TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as its Chairman, on Monday met senior officials of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, though no breakthrough was achieved in the ongoing logjam.The students of the prestigious Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), who today also brought their stir to the national capital, met K Sanjay Murthy, Joint Secretary (Films) in the ministry.Murthy said that they had sought a meeting with Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley or his deputy Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, though no such assurance was made by the officials present.Both sides, however, were keen that communication channels should remain open.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We asked the Joint Secretary if an official meeting can take place between students and either of the ministers. The official did not promise us anything, but said, he will speak to the minister first and then get back to us. We are hoping the minister agrees to it and a channel of communication opens up,” said Vikas Urs, member of the delgation.Reiterating the protesters’ demands, Urs said the demonstrations will continue until the government listens to the agitating students. Sources in the I&B ministry, meanwhile, confirmed that a meeting had taken place between senior officials and students, and added, the ministry is open to any positive proposal emerging from the students’ side.They, however, said that the students’ delegation did not have a “firm roadmap” but they were willing to have more communication and dialogue which would benefit the institution and its students.The students have been demanding dissolution of the current FTII society and that it be kept in abeyance. They have also demanded formation of a committee, with bureacrats, filmmakers and academicians as its members, to frame rules and guidelines for setting up a new society.”Gajendra Chouhan and five others do not have academic and artistic credentials to head any educational institute. Second thing is that they have come on the basis onf his affiliation with a certain political party,” Urs alleged.”Beyond that they have not done any work of importance in the circle of art or film. In this context, if such people head the institute, then the academic vision of the institute will nullify. We want the right people to come here,” he claimed.Meanwhile, sources said that the Informationm and Broadcasting Ministry had earlier also taken initiatives to try and open a “track two” dialogue to resolve the situation.Filmmakers like Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Raj Kumar Hirani and some students they said, had even met top ministry functionaries few days ago and expressed hope that a solution would emerge.

Gajendra Chauhan to Pahlaj Nihalani: The unstoppable rise of the anti-intellectuals under Modi sarkar

By Rishi Majumder

It’s a question that’s been puzzling many for a while. Why is the government appointing individuals without much standing to the country’s leading cultural and educational positions when they have better candidates among those who endorse their politics?

For example, why has Gajendra Chauhan been appointed as Chairman of the FTII governing council and not, say, Anupam Kher? The NDA-I, for instance, had appointed Vinod Khanna, of arguably greater stature than Chauhan, to the same post.

Also, did the Indian Right Wing really not find better believers among its ranks for the chair of the Central Board of Film Certification than Pahlaj Nihalani?

In the field of history one would have to search harder for illustrious figures the Cultural Right could use to further their agenda. Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, whose body of scholarship the Right,now employs as a springboard for their ideological notions of history, died in 1980. The veteran historian might well have taken great objection to some of the distortions but the point is the Right has been hard pressed to find a historiographer of enough indisputable clout whose work they can cull for fresh ammunition.

Gajendra Chauhan and Pahlaj Nihalani. Image courtesy: IBNLiveGajendra Chauhan and Pahlaj Nihalani. Image courtesy: IBNLive

Gajendra Chauhan and Pahlaj Nihalani. Image courtesy: IBNLive

But think a minute. Is it possible that, if historians of Majumdar’s stature were alive, Yellapragada Sudershan Rao would still be chosen for Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research? Wouldn’t a historian like Majumdar be seen to have too much of a mind of his own?

As we chew on this, do please Google the credentials of the distinguished appointees mentioned above. The problems sane questioners had with their exaltations have been documented well enough, across diverse media, for one not to have to raise them again.

Do also keep in mind that these appointments are only a few of those that have occurred, and are likely to occur, in the institutions mentioned above as well as others. For more, see here.

The relevant question— Why?

One reason could be found in a thesis put forth by Ramchandra Guha, in an essay this March, which has been debated avidly. Guha bemoaned a paucity of conservative Indian intellectuals and his writing evoked various reactions. One among them was from Jaideep A Prabhu who pointed to some exceptions Guha may have overlooked and suggested that Guha expand his scope while defining a ‘public intellectual’. Another was G Sampath’s piece just a week ago, calling the assertion a meaningless one. Sampath examined the issue through a caste prism to conclude that India’s left and liberals could be seen as socially conservative anyhow, and so, where’s the need for a removed secular conservative camp?

Let’s adopt a different approach, one that Sampath touched upon in his piece but then chose to move on from— the anti-intellectualism of the present Indian Right.

For, returning to the three appointments cited above, while Guha’s assertions may, if stretched, explain the lack of a credible Chairperson for the ICHR, it doesn’t address the willful appointments of relative nobodies to steer the two film bodies. “The work is administration,” said Chauhan in a TV debate when he realized he was ill equipped to defend himself. “Give me a chance. I will manage.”

For perspective, revisit the first appointment that landed this government in a soup. Smriti Irani as HRD Minister. The sidelining of an Arun Shourie may be seen through the lens of the party’s deliberate retiring of the old guard, but why appoint someone, with hardly any academic credentials to speak of, to govern Indian academia?

Here’s a hint. Speak to officials in the Education ministry and you will probably hear that Irani is, as Chauhan wishes to be, ‘a good administrator’. By this they mean she works hard and does her homework on various fronts. She manages.

Another hint— besides ‘managing’, what other virtue do Irani and Chauhan have in common? Answer: The lack of a strong, distinct, individual vision for what they want to achieve with their charges.

And so, one obvious reason for such appointments is that the Indian Right, overseen not just by the ruling BJP but also the party’s ideological parent organization the RSS, wants – in the cultural and educational spheres particularly – ideological puppets who will be grateful enough to work hard and get things done, but who will not in any way obstruct their agenda.

But wait a while. Have you noticed the unabashed manner in which the appointments are being made? A message, almost in the form of a Chinese whisper, seems to be being sent out with the announcement of each new appointee. Can you hear it?

The message is: What did your intellectualizing get you? Did it prevent us from coming to power? Did it prevent people from voting for us or volunteering for us or funding us? What can you do if you dislike an appointment? Write a column? Lambast us on a TV show? We will appoint 10 more candidates, equally distasteful to you, in response.

Mihir S Sharma, in a recent column, suggested an ideological takeover of culture and education in the country. In doing so, he compared what the Right is doing to what the Left did in West Bengal and differentiated it from what the Congress did in India.

Right Wing publications such as Swarajya, on the other hand, in many of their articles, have suggested that such a takeover comprises a sort of counter-intellectualism on the part of the Right— an effort to gain more legitimate representation in the educational and cultural worlds.

But what if it weren’t counter-intellectualism? For – let us raise the question for the third time, how on earth does that explain the appointment of those less eligible for a post, when those clearly more eligible, from the same ideological spectrum, are around? What if it were instead, ‘anti-intellectualism’?

Anti-intellectualism is not a new or an Indian phenomenon. In a milder form, for instance, the idea has been defined, in America, in the writings of journalist Paul Johnson and economist Thomas Sowell. Sowell also argues that anti-colonialism may have formed the basis for anti-intellectualism. It persists, in the US, in the more ridiculous ideas of some Republican politicians.

In its more horrifying avatars, anti-intellectualism has emerged in incidents such as the Khmer Rouge trials, where individuals have been condemned to death for wearing glasses or knowing a foreign language or ‘The Night of the Long Batons’ in Argentina where five faculties of the university of Buenos Aires were dislodged. The name for the latter incident derives from the sticks used to strike hundreds of students and professors while they were being forced out of university buildings.

Anti-intellectualism was married steadfastly with Fascism when philosopher Giovanni Gentile presented it as an ideological basis for the same. At a ‘Congress of fascist Culture’, Gentile said: “Fascism combats not intelligence, but intellectualism which is a sickness of the intellect… ”

Examine the above examples closely and it will strike you that the ultimate failing of anti-intellectualism lies in the fact that its proponents are hypocrites. Pol Pot, or Benito Mussolini or Argentina’s Juan Carlos Ongania could never really discard intellectualism completely. You will always need an idea to rule. Each of these dictators needed a body of thought – be it Communism, or Fascism or Corporatism – from which they could appear to derive legitimacy. What they sought to do, therefore, was to mould one body of thought to make it fit into a box designed and owned by them.

The Indian Cultural Right as embodied by the RSS is also trying to put things into a box. And rather than counter-intellectuals it needs an abundance of ‘good managers’ through whom to do so.

For another strain of anti-intellectualism, examine Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s own speeches. “There is nothing accidental about him, beginning with his anti-intellectualism,” Jug Suraiya had written, earlier this year, in a column titled Narendra Modi: Our anti-intellectual PM. The column was one of many inspired by the PM’s citing the Hindu god Ganesh as proof of transplant surgery in ancient India.

Let’s revisit that too. “Hum Ganeshji ki pooja karte hain (We worship Lord Ganesh),” the Indian Prime Minister had said, according to the text posted on the PMO website. “Koi to plastic surgeon hoga us zamaane mein jisne manushya ke shareer par haathi ka sar rakhkar ke plastic surgery ka prarambh kiya hoga. (There must have been some plastic surgeon in that era who placed an elephant’s head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery).”

If this were just a case of one man’s gaffe, it could, possibly, be overlooked. But the PM was echoing a wider Right Wing Agenda that was thumbing its nose at prevailing intellectual standards. There is nothing accidental about this agenda either.

Finally, two things. The intellectuals of India, as elsewhere, are really far from perfect. How so, is another debate altogether, but, for an indication, let us borrow from Noam Chomsky’s criticism of the American liberal intellectual establishment, “Intellectuals are specialists in defamation, they’re basically (political) commissars, they’re the ideological masters so they are the ones who feel most threatened by dissidence”.

But would you really want to throw the baby away with the bathwater? Because you are dissatisfied with questions, would you do away with questioners altogether?

Secondly, it may seem premature to draw from a few lame appointments and speech excerpts to generalize and warn of the way totalitarian regimes have gone.

But consider a recent incident. On August 1, the Saturday that just passed, a screening of the documentary Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai- Muzaffarnagar Eventually, on the massacre of Muslims in Muzaffarnagar in 2013, was stalled at Delhi’s Kirori Mal College.

Here’s what those present have to say about what transpired. Thirty to Forty young men who called themselves Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (the RSS Student Wing) members rushed in and demanded that 100 odd students should not be allowed to see the film. It was against their caste and against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they claimed, despite not having seen it. When professors at the screening suggested they watch the documentary and then express any reservations in the discussion after, one of them charged towards a senior professor, Keval Arora, screaming, “Main Hindu hoon. Main Jat hoon. Main tujhein thappad maar doonga (I am a Hindu. I am a Jat. I will slap you).” He was restrained before he could do so, not by the police who had been called in and who were standing by, but by his companions who appeared to have sensed that things could escalate beyond their control.

What if, tomorrow, they don’t restrain him? Is a night of long batons really such a distant possibility?

Information and Broadcasting Ministry mulls adding more names to the pool for Prasar Bharti panel

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry is considering broadbasing the pool from which it intends to select four new part-time members of the Prasar Bharati Board by including some more names.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry is considering broadbasing the pool from which it intends to select four new part-time members of the Prasar Bharati Board by including some more names.The Ministry had earlier prepared a list comprising seven people including Bollywood star Kajol, singer Anoop Jalota, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s media advisor Ashok Tandon and journalist Minhaz Merchant.Sources said it was later felt that some more names should be added to the list so there can be greater choice for making the selection.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the Prasar Bharati Act, its Board should have six part-time members and curently there are four vacancies.A committee headed by Vice President Hamid Ansari and comprising Information and Broadcasting Secretary and Chairman of Press Council of India (PCI) would choose the members.The decision to choose more names, however, would also mean that the appointment of part-time members would take longer since security clearance of the new members would also have to be done.The Ministry of Home Affairs has already given security clearance to the seven people whose names have been forwarded to it by the I&B ministry. The same process would have to be undertaken with regard to the new names, sources said.The vacancies of part-time members have existed for over a year as some of them had resigned after a change of government at the Centre.As per the Prasar Bharati Act, part-time members have to be persons of eminence in public life. While their term of office shall be six years, one-third of them shall retire on expiration of two years.

Coal scam: 2 government servants to be prosecuted after court summons ex-Coal Secretary, 5 others

Two senior government servants, who were summoned as accused along with others in a coal scam case, will now face prosecution for alleged offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, a special court has said.

Two senior government servants, who were summoned as accused along with others in a coal scam case, will now face prosecution for alleged offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, a special court has said.Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar took cognisance of the alleged offence under section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act against accused K S Kropha, then Joint Secretary of Ministry of Coal (MoC), and K C Samria, who was the then Director (Coal Allocation-I section) in MoC.The section deals with offence of criminal misconduct by a public servant by corrupt or illegal means. The court order came after the CBI on July 22 informed it that the Centre has accorded sanction to prosecute Kropha and Samria for the alleged offence under the anti-graft law.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I accordingly proceed to take cognisance of the offences under section 13(1)(d) PC Act against accused KS Kropha and KC Samria also,” the judge said.The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to M/s Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL). The court on October 13 last year had summoned former Coal Secretary H C Gupta, Kropha, Samria, KSSPL’s Managing Director Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia, chartered accountant Amit Goyal and the company as accused in the case after refusing to accept CBI’s closure report.They were summoned for the alleged offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servants) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC. Only Gupta was summoned for the alleged offences under the anti- graft law.In its order last year, the court had noted that since Kropha and Samria were active public servants so no cognisance for the alleged offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act could be taken against them due to want of sanction.Earlier, former Coal Secretary HC Gupta and five others, including two senior public servants, were summoned as accused by a special court for their alleged roles in a coal block allocation scam case.Besides Gupta, the court summoned KS Kropha, then Joint Secretary of Ministry of Coal (MoC), and KC Samria, who was then Director (Coal Allocation-I section) in MoC, Brahmani Thermal Power Pvt Ltd (BTPPL), its Chairman P Trivikrama Prasad and its Vice-Chairman Y Harish Chandra Prasad as accused in the case.They were summoned for the alleged offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servants) and 420 (cheating) of IPC and under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar yesterday summoned them for August 19 in connection with a case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of Rampia and dip side of Rampia coal block in Odisha to M/s Navbharat Power Pvt Ltd (NPPL), which is now known as BTPPL, in January 2008.The court summoned them as accused after taking cognisance of CBI’s final report filed in the case.”I, thus, hereby take cognisance of offence under section 120-B IPC against all the accused persons i.e. M/s BTPPL, its Chairman P Trivikrama Prasad and Vice-Chairman Y Harish Chandra Prasad, H C Gupta, K C Samria and K S Kropha and also of the offences under section 120-B/409/420 IPC and under section 13(1)(c)/13(1)(d) of PC Act against them besides of the offences under section 13(1)(d) PC Act against H C Gupta, K S Kropha and KC Samria,” the judge said.While summoning Gupta, the court said that being the then Coal Secretary, he was “duty bound under the law to ensure its distribution/allocation in accordance with the rule of law to deserving applicant companies”.”However, on account of his (Gupta) failure to take reasonable safeguards as was expected of him while working as such public servant coupled with various acts of omission and commission as discussed in order dated November 12, 2014, the important natural nationalized resources of the country were allowed to be misappropriated by M/s NPPL,” the court said.